Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Tourism and Sports Ministry seeks to lift domestic lockdown

The Tourism and Sports Ministry wants the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to lift the domestic tourism lockdown starting in June, as the industry prepared for new national safety and health standards with almost 1,500 operators applying for certification.

Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said this Friday the ministry plans to talk with the CCSA about easing domestic tourism restrictions, such as allowing inter-provincial travel and hotel operations to resume in many provinces, in line with the third stage of Covid-19 restrictions.

If CCSA agrees with the scheme, domestic travel will start again on June 1, but within the same region for the first two weeks, before gradually allowing inter-regional travel.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) scheduled a meeting with the Finance Ministry today about additional tourism stimulus plans such as tourism coupons to help boost operators’ liquidity, giving local travellers more purchasing power, said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

But apart from financial stimulus, TAT is hoping that 70% of the tourism supply chain will join the new safety standards of the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) within the first two years to regain the confidence of travellers.

Once operators obtain SHA certification, which lasts two years, they have to strictly comply with the guidelines or the certificate will be revoked.

The agency will join a committee consisting of the Health Department, provincial public health agencies, the Tourism Department, and the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration to randomly check operators’ practices.

He said tourists also act as auditors when they send feedback about their experiences after visits or using services.

The project, a collaboration between the TAT, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the Public Health Ministry, began yesterday after launching online applications on May 18.

As of May 24, 1,442 operators nationwide in 10 tourism-related businesses had applied for the certificate.

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