As the world tries to adjust to the change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are also revising their tourism policies and slowly opening borders to invite visitors to boost economies. The Thailand government, too, plans to begin talks about a travel bubble with China and Malaysia in February for steady tourism growth.
Here’s all we know regarding the travel bubble so far
The inter-governmental discussions
The Thai economy heavily depends on tourism as a huge chunk of revenue comes from foreign visitors. The country’s economy was battered by the pandemic as international travel was brought to a halt.
Now, the government is ready to hold talks with its Chinese and Malaysian counterparts to develop bilateral travel bubbles that will help in attracting tourists and ensure their safety. A quarantine-free visa programme on both sides will help the economy take small steps to recover.
According to the Deputy of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Wichit Pakobgoson, the government should also do away with the other COVID-19 rules and implement test-and-go schemes.
The decision comes after the government waived off mandatory quarantine rule for foreign tourists. People can freely visit the country if they are fully vaccinated.
However, the policy, along with the sandbox tourism experiments, failed to draw holiday goers, as they are required to undergo quarantine on their way back to their country.
When will the talks take place?
According to a report by Thaiger, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that discussions with China will begin this week during his trip to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Similarly, talks with Malaysia will begin at the end of February as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to meet with his Malaysian counterpart, Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Impact of Chinese and Malaysian tourists
According to a Bangkok Post report, Chinese and Malaysian tourists made up for almost one-third of the 40 million visiting footfall in 2019, which resulted in the generation of a total revenue worth USD 20 billion.
(Main and featured image credit: Rach Teo/ @rachteo/ Unsplash)