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Songkran 2017 spending tops 45 billion Baht (US$1.3 bln) in Thailand

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Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports says the total economic impact of spending during the Songkran 2017 holiday was 45.428 billion Baht (US$1.3 billion*), representing a 14.40 per cent increase over the same period last year.

In addition, several destinations nationwide were reportedly recording noticeable tourism growth during the Thai New Year period.

During the Songkran 2017 holiday period from 11-17 April, Thailand attracted 695,894 international tourists and generated about 36.941 billion Baht (US$1 billion), up 10.9 per cent and 16.40 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, domestic tourism resulted in 3.03 million trips and 8.487 billion Baht (US$242 million) revenue up 3.36 per cent and 6.45 per cent, respectively.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “I was delighted to see many international tourists joining the Thai people in celebrating Songkran 2017 in the unique Thai ways.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) organised and supported celebrations of Songkran 2017 in 14 destinations nationwide. They are: Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, Songkhla (Hat Yai), Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phuket, Nong Khai, Samut Prakarn, Suphanburi, Nakhon Phanom, Lampang, and Sukhothai.

H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports personally joined the Songkran 2017 celebrations in Khon Kaen, Ayutthaya, and Chon Buri. In Khon Kaen, she also took part in setting a new record for the “human wave” activity, covering a one-kilometre-long strip on Khao Neao Road.

The activity, which started in 2009 to symbolise unity, attracted 100,000 revellers on the first day (13 April), increased to over 120,000 revellers on the second day and concluded with 135,271 participants on the last day.

It involved three rounds of human waves created with the participants jumping from the ground with hands raised high and sitting down immediately.

In Ayutthaya, Mrs. Kobkarn said the Songkran 2017 activities at the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Ayutthaya Historical Park were joined by many Thai and foreign tourists.

On the last day of the one-week long holiday (17 April), the Minister joined the traditional Sand Pagoda Ceremony on Lai Day in Bangsaen, Chon Buri, with the highlight being the building of sand pagodas– one of the traditional aspects of Songkran.

In addition, Mrs. Kobkarn said, “With 41 per cent of domestic trips going into 14 destinations where Songkran 2017 celebrations were organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the TAT, that means Thais spent on accommodation, food and transport, thus supported local businesses. This makes us proud for being able to entice Thais to travel domestically.”

Based on the Ministry’s preliminary data, of the 3.03 million domestic trips during 11-17 April, 2017, a total of 1.25 million trips took place in the 14 destinations, a growth of 5.61 per cent when compared to the same period in 2016.

The total economic impact totalled 5.15 billion Baht (+7.86 per cent), or 61 per cent of total domestic tourism revenue generated during the Thai New Year 2017.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “I was delighted to see many international tourists joining the Thai people in celebrating Songkran 2017 in the unique Thai ways.

The Thai New Year is a time when family comes first, respect is paid to seniors, and people visit the temples to take part in traditional ceremonies. It’s all these beautiful aspects that make Thai culture unique and charming, and make Thailand one of the world’s most unique tourist destinations.”

*Currency converter: 35 Baht / US$1

The post Songkran 2017 spurred over 45 billion Baht in spending in Thailand appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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Thailand to lift quarantine for vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries from November

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Thailand to lift quarantine for vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries from November

Bangkok, 12 October, 2021

Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha in a nationally televised broadcast last night announced that Thailand planned to allow fully vaccinated foreign visitors to enter Thailand by air with no quarantine requirements from 1 November.

In the initial phase, Thailand will allow fully vaccinated travellers from at least 10 low-risk countries, including China, Germany, Singapore, the UK and USA. The list will be expanded from 1 December, and further enhanced to a very extensive list from 1 January.

Under the plan, fully vaccinated foreign visitors from the approved countries will need to show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and do a test in Thailand, after which they will be free to move around Thailand in the same way that any Thai citizen can do, the Prime Minister said.

Visitors from countries not on the list, will, of course, still be much welcomed, but with quarantine and other requirements.

In addition, the Prime Minister said consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues under appropriate health precautions would be allowed from 1 December.

Below is the full speech by the Prime Minister.

National Address of the Prime Minister of Thailand

“THAILAND WILL WELCOME QUARANTINE-FREE VISITORS”

Monday 11 October, 2021

My fellow citizens, brothers and sisters:

In the last one-and-half years, we have lived with some of the greatest peacetime challenges our country has ever faced in its history, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and one that has left nobody untouched and no country in the world undamaged.

It has been one of the most painful experiences in my life, too: to make decisions that balance the saving of lives with the saving of livelihoods – a choice that is not always clearly separate, and where we may save lives, but commit those lives to the unbearable pain of trying to survive with little or no income; or where we may save livelihoods but commit one’s family, friends and neighbours to loss of life and the loss of their breadwinner.

In facing this terrible choice, it was my decision that we could not allow a slow, wait-and-see approach to confronting the pandemic and let it claim the lives of so many of our countrymen and women, as we, ultimately, saw happen in so many other countries.

As a result, I acted decisively on the advice of many of our outstanding public health experts to make our country one of the first in the world to move quickly with lockdowns and tight regulations.

With the collaboration of all sectors of society, and with everyone joining hands to face this crisis together, we have been among the most successful countries in the world in saving lives. 

But it has come at very great sacrifices of lost livelihoods, lost savings, and destroyed businesses – what we have all given up so that our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends and neighbours may live for today.

The threat of a large scale, lethal spread of the virus in Thailand is now diminishing, even though the risk of resurgence is always there, and even though there are still serious constraints on our hospital and medical staff capacities. 

The time has come for us to ready ourselves to face the coronavirus and live with it as with other endemic infections and diseases, much as we have learnt to live with other diseases with treatments and vaccinations.

Today, I would like to announce the first small but important step in decisively beginning the process of trying to restore our livelihoods.

During the last weeks some of Thailand’s most important tourist source countries have begun to ease their travel restrictions on their citizens – countries like the UK, that now allow convenient travel to our country, as well as countries like Singapore and Australia that have started to ease travel restrictions on their citizens visiting other countries.

With these developments, we must act quickly but still cautiously, and not miss the opportunity to entice some of the year-end and New Year holiday season travellers during the next few months to support the many millions of people who earn a living from our tourism, travel and entertainment sectors as well as the many other related sectors.

I have, therefore, instructed the CCSA and the Ministry of Public Health to urgently consider within this week to allow, as of 1 November, international visitors to enter Thailand without any requirement for quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries.

All that visitors will need do is to show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and do a test in Thailand, after which they will be free to move around Thailand in the same way that any Thai citizen can do.

Initially, we will begin with at least 10 countries on our low-risk, no-quarantine list, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China, and the United States of America, and enlarge that list by 1 December, and, by 1 January move to a very extensive list.

Visitors from countries not on the list, will, of course, still be much welcomed, but with quarantine and other requirements.

By 1 December, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues under appropriate health precautions to support the revitalisation of the tourism and leisure sectors, especially as we approach the New Year period.

I know this decision comes with some risk.  It is almost certain that we will see a temporary rise in serious cases as we relax these restrictions.  We will have to track the situation very carefully, and see how to contain and live with that situation because I do not think that the many millions who depend on the income generated by the travel, leisure, and entertainment sector can possibly afford the devastating blow of a second lost new year holiday period. 

But if, in the months ahead, we see an unexpected emergence of a highly dangerous new variant of the virus, then, of course, we must also act accordingly and proportionately when we see the threat.  We know that this virus has surprised the world several times, and we must be ready for it to do so again. 

In mid-June of this year, I had set a 120-day goal for quarantine-free entry into Thailand and to accelerate our vaccinations.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the extraordinary achievements of our public health workers, other officials and all citizens for their response to my appeal in June.

After we adopted the 120-day goal, extraordinary efforts were made to increase our supply of vaccines and compete with many other countries to get deliveries.  And they were very successful.  Our vaccine deliveries jumped threefold, from around 4 million doses in May to almost 12 million in July… then to almost 14 million in August, and will now run at over 20 million a month until the end of the year, totalling over 170 million doses, far ahead of the goals I had set.

Similarly, our public health staff worked tirelessly to accelerate vaccinations to support our 120-day goal, and the public gave great cooperation to register for vaccinations despite the inconveniences that may have been caused in scheduling.  As a result, our daily vaccinations, which were running at around 80,000 doses a day in May, shot up immediately.  One month after our goal-setting, our public health team tripled the number of shots being administering a day, and they kept increasing that number until Thailand rose to be among the fastest ten countries in the world for administering shots!  Currently, they have frequently been administering more than 700,000 shots a day, and sometimes even exceeding one million shots a day.

Shortly after my address to the nation in mid-June setting our goal for quarantine-free entry into Thailand in 120 days, the world was struck by the highly infectious Delta variant.  Worldwide cases spiked up and peaked in August, just as they did in Thailand, and few thought that it would be possible to achieve any quarantine-free entry into Thailand this year.

The fact that we can begin quarantine-free entry in November, and despite many countries still trying to contain Delta variant infections with restrictions on the travel of their citizens is a great tribute to the unity of purpose and determined response to my appeal by the public health services, by many other government departments, by the private sector, and by the cooperation given by citizens in all matters.

Our nation has performed an extraordinary feat in the last months that we can all be very proud about everyone’s enormous contributions to those achievements.  These achievements, coupled with the gradual relaxation of other countries’ travel restrictions, now enables us to begin the process of quarantine-free entry into Thailand.

Thank you.

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