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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Thailand’s Tourism Aspirations

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
People wear face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus during movie at the Paragon Cineplex movie theater in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, June 1, 2020.

Hawaii is far from the only place in the world that’s debating what to do about tourism. There’s another oceanfront destination that’s making some small moves this week, and still considering possibilities over the longer term.

Some of Thailand’s most popular beaches are open for the first time in months today. But not for foreigners. And there are other changes on the oceanfront — physical distance between people, of course, and more frequent cleaning than in the past.

The Bangkok Post reports these are local decisions made under national guidelines, but there’s some loosening of a few other federal rules as well.

Movie theaters will be open in Thailand starting today. It’s okay for couples to sit together, but separation between parties needs to be at least three seats, facemasks are required, and no snacks or drinks during the show.

As for international travel, industry groups are pushing for a gradual re-opening this summer. The head of the Association of Thai Travel Agents says the government could allow some tourists in by July — carefully restricting exactly who comes.

The group says the first targets should be those from countries who have COVID-19 under relative control — coming with a health certificate showing a negative test. Everyone would receive another test on arrival — at no cost to the traveler.

Another proposal under discussion is to keep visitors on package tours restricted to resort grounds — a practice Travel and Leisure Magazine is calling a “luxury quarantine.”

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