CM – British are rushing to change flights to Thailand – Pattaya Mail


The « proposal » by the Thai Ministry of Health that the spread of the Omicron virus is likely to lead to urgent travel restrictions has unsettled the international flight market. The UK, which has particularly high Omicron infection rates, feels particularly vulnerable. Trailfinders and Flyscanner, among others, report that customers are urgently trying to rebook flights before an expected change in rules. Only a few short-term tickets are currently available, mostly with a stopover in the Middle East. British Airways and Eva no longer fly direct to Bangkok from the UK.
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Currently, fully vaccinated and virus-free citizens from 64 countries including the UK can apply for test-and-go clearance to visit Thailand. Once there, you only have to stay a few hours in a pre-booked hotel to wait for the hopefully negative result of your new RT-PCR health test. There are fears that the Thai authorities will abolish Test and Go for some or all of the 64 countries and replace it with the sandbox program (which requires newcomers to sleep seven nights in a pre-booked hotel with freedom of movement in the area during the day) ) or a 10- or 14-day mandatory isolation / quarantine regardless of the vaccination status.

A formal decision will likely be made on Christmas Eve by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Thailand’s top health committee. The Thai Tourism Authority insists that no decisions have been made and that all parties involved are heard. Phisut Sae-Khu, President of the Eastern Chapter of the Thai Hotels Association, said sudden changes would have a negative impact no matter the detail.

Pattaya, whose economy is largely dependent on tourism, has seen an increase in international arrivals recently, particularly from Scandinavia and the UK. Thanet Supornsahasrungsri, incumbent president of Chonburi Tourism Council, said daily arrivals are now 500-700. Many business owners say the answer is no longer entry restrictions, but rather enforcing a digital passport system in every public place. The experience in Thailand suggests that this policy is idealistic rather than practical.
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The World Health Organization said the number of Omicron cases in community-transmitted areas doubles internationally every 2 or 3 days, despite doubts about the severity of the diseases caused by the virus variant. Thai travel agents mostly say that the local hospitality industry might just about survive the adoption of the sandbox program, but the return of isolation quarantine would be a death sentence in 2022.


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