•   
  •   
  •   

World Thailand prepares to welcome back tourists after devastating shutdown

08:25  27 october  2021
08:25  27 october  2021 Source:   afp.com

Michigan cat becomes first pet in state to test positive for virus that causes COVID-19

  Michigan cat becomes first pet in state to test positive for virus that causes COVID-19 Ingham County cat tested positive for virus that causes COVID-19. Its owners were confirmed to have COVID-19 about a week before the cat became ill.The cat had close contact with its owners, who were confirmed to have COVID-19 about a week before the feline became ill, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said in a release Tuesday. The cat was tested after it began to sneeze and has recovered.

"We have estimated the tourism industry will return to normal levels around the middle of next year," Bangkok Metropolitan Administration spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said. The kingdom is expecting the return of at least a million visitors by March and to generate about billion in revenue through 2022, authorities say. The absence of visitors has left an unmistakable impact on Bangkok's Chinatown, with shuttered shops visible under the glare of neon lights and lines of empty tuk-tuks. Thailand is preparing to re-open on November 1 to fully vaccinated visitors Mladen ANTONOV AFP.

The Thai Embassies and Consulates are now issuing 60-day tourist visa and special tourist visa (STV) and Certificate of Entry to enter Thailand . Thailand allows semi-commercial flights to travel to Thailand . Foreigners must get in touch with the local Thai Embassy in their current location to apply for Certificate of Entry and for more information. Starting October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 Thailand will allow limited numbers of long stay foreign tourists under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) Program.

Hotels, street food carts and tuk-tuks are gearing up for the return of tourists to Bangkok as Thailand prepares to re-open on November 1 to fully vaccinated visitors after 18 months of Covid travel curbs.

The coronavirus pandemic sent visitor numbers plummeting and hammered Thailand's tourism sector © Mladen ANTONOV The coronavirus pandemic sent visitor numbers plummeting and hammered Thailand's tourism sector

But the steamy metropolis, the world's most-visited city before the pandemic, will take some time to get back to its pulsating, intoxicating old self, industry experts say.

The coronavirus pandemic sent visitor numbers plummeting from 40 million in 2019 to just 73,000 in the first eight months of 2021 -- leaving its tourism-reliant economy registering its worst performance in over two decades.

French tourists again welcome in Thailand

 French tourists again welcome in Thailand © Tuul & Bruno Morandi / Getty Images French tourists again welcome in Thailand The country has decided to authorize tourists from more than 40 countries to go on its territory, without submitting a quarantine. It is now possible to predict your holidays in Thailand. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced, Thursday, October 21, that the travelers vaccinated from more than forty countries will be allowed to visit Thailand without having to submit to a quarantine from November 1st .

Thailand to welcome tourists again in bid to revive Covid-battered economy.

Back in March 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced a strict lockdown and halted visas for foreigners due to the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, closing the borders to the majority of tourists . Announcing the easing of rules, the Home Ministry released a statement confirming officials have “decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15 Despite encouraging tourists back to India, the government was clear that all visitors will be expected to follow stringent Covid-19 safety protocols during their visit.

Thailand is preparing to re-open on November 1 to fully vaccinated visitors © Mladen ANTONOV Thailand is preparing to re-open on November 1 to fully vaccinated visitors

Authorities are desperate to revive the sector -- which accounts for a fifth of the economy -- despite Thailand still recording about 10,000 Covid infections a day and the vaccination rate lagging at about 40 percent.

Thai authorities are desperate to revive tourism, a key sector of the economy © Mladen ANTONOV Thai authorities are desperate to revive tourism, a key sector of the economy

The government is hopeful that a plan to phase out tough quarantine rules could lure visitors back to bars and beaches despite the prevalence of the virus.

"We have estimated the tourism industry will return to normal levels around the middle of next year," Bangkok Metropolitan Administration spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said.

Thailand easing tourist quarantine rules in November

  Thailand easing tourist quarantine rules in November BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand is accelerating plans to reopen the country to foreign tourists, slashing mandatory quarantines beginning Nov. 1 for fully-vaccinated visitors arriving by air from 46 countries and territories, officials announced Friday. The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration also announced a loosening of local restrictions, including cancellation of a curfew in some areas where risks have lessened and tourists can move freely. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had announced earlier this month that Thailand no longer planned to require visitors from at least 10 low-risk nations to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai authorities are preparing a plan to ease restrictions for travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus, senior officials said on Wednesday (Feb 24), as the country looks to revive a tourism industry battered by travel curbs. Measures for vaccinated visitors would be introduced step by step and could include shortening the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from two weeks to three days for those vaccinated, or waiving it entirely, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn said.

Thailand , which was one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, is gearing up to welcome foreign visitors without requiring them to quarantine for the first time in 18 months. From Monday, fully vaccinated tourists from over 40 countries that are considered low-risk, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China In July, Thailand launched a tourist bubble in Phuket that allows vaccinated travelers to visit without needing to quarantine, although they are not allowed to travel to the rest of the country until they spend at least a week on the island.

Bangkok was the world's most-visited city before the pandemic, and industry experts say it will take some time to get back to its pulsating old self © Lillian SUWANRUMPHA Bangkok was the world's most-visited city before the pandemic, and industry experts say it will take some time to get back to its pulsating old self

The kingdom is expecting the return of at least a million visitors by March and to generate about $30 billion in revenue through 2022, authorities say.

The absence of visitors has left an unmistakable impact on Bangkok's Chinatown, with shuttered shops visible under the glare of neon lights and lines of empty tuk-tuks.

Samran, a driver for 25 years, saw his income drop by 90 percent and now earns just $3 a day.

"I want to stop but I am old, no one will hire me for anything else," the 58-year-old said.

"I haven't picked up a single tourist since April 2020."

That was when Thailand closed its airspace to international flights in a bid to keep Covid at bay.

After this restriction was relaxed, authorities imposed a 14-day hotel quarantine, discouraging all but the most determined travellers.

Chased and jailed: No rest and much danger for Asia's young revolutionaries

  Chased and jailed: No rest and much danger for Asia's young revolutionaries Young voices demanding democracy and civil liberties in Asia have been suppressed by corruption, growing inequality and the widening influence of a repressive China. (Judith Rudd / For The Times) Ei Thinzar Maung had dreams of winning a seat in Myanmar’s parliament and championing the rights of women and ethnic minorities. She was beaten and arrested four years ago, and is now hiding in the jungle from a military junta that’s killed and imprisoned thousands of her peers. Ivan Choi was studying chemistry in Hong Kong when he joined a protest movement calling for more freedom from China.

Thailand plans to reopen Bangkok and other popular destinations to foreign visitors next month, officials said last week, as the southeast Asian nation tries to revive its crucial tourism industry despite rising infection numbers. Ramaphosa warned that a devastating third wave of infections driven by the more transmissible Delta variant was not over, but added that the country now has enough vaccine doses to cover the entire adult population, with more than a quarter of adults receiving at least one dose.

Hundreds of hungry monkeys swarm across street to fight over single banana after tourists who normally feed them stay way because of coronavirus. The primates are normally fed by tourists in Thailand , but visitors have plummeted because of COVID-19.

A scheme to make it easier to visit the southern holiday island of Phuket, introduced in July as a first step towards normalcy, drew only a few tens of thousands of people -- a drop in the ocean.

- Re-opening in phases -

In a bid to cauterise the haemorrhaging economy, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced a phased plan for Thailand's re-opening.

From November 1, fully vaccinated visitors travelling from more than 40 "low-risk" countries will be allowed to enter with a negative Covid result, retesting again upon arrival.

Included on the list are a slew of European countries as well as China and the United States.

China is Thailand's largest source of tourists, accounting for 11 million visitors in 2019.

But with Beijing imposing a minimum two-week quarantine on returnees, few Chinese holidaymakers are likely to arrive at the kingdom's sun-soaked beaches come November.

There is also no sign that India or Russia -- two other major sources of visitors -- will be added to the list soon.

The second stage of re-opening, planned for December 1, is to end a seven-month prohibition on booze in bars and restaurants -- a move industry figures say is vital to entice thirsty visitors looking to cut loose.

China grows more isolated as South Korea, Japan, Thailand start living with Covid-19

  China grows more isolated as South Korea, Japan, Thailand start living with Covid-19 From Australia to South Korea and across Asia Pacific, the final bastions of "zero Covid" are easing restrictions and opening borders as the region prepares to live with the virus -- except for one major holdout. © STR/AFP/Getty Images Medical staff take a swab sample from a man to be tested for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Ganzhou District in Zhangye, in China's northwest Gansu province on October 29. China, the country where Covid-19 was first detected nearly two years ago, remains determined to eliminate the virus inside its borders, with officials there showing no signs of backing down.

"We are really waiting for the Thai government to lift the ban on alcohol, because it does not encourage tourists to return," said Daniel Kerr, general manager of the Chatrium hotel.

The five-star establishment sits on the banks of Bangkok's Chao Phraya River, and just 10 percent of its 400 rooms were occupied at the height of the Covid crisis. 

Things are picking up now, with more than half of the rooms booked for New Year celebrations -- though 85 percent of these reservations are from Thais.

- 'I will not survive this' -

The prolonged shutdown has "devastated" the hotel sector, Thai Hotels Association president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi said, adding that nearly half of the industry's employees were left jobless from closures and lay-offs. 

With Bangkok's remaining hotels chasing so few visitors, the industry is having to adapt to compete, dramatically slashing room rates.

"A fierce price war has been declared between hotels because supply will remain very abundant for a long time compared to demand," she said.

These challenges are dampening Marisa's expectations for the re-opening.

"If in the next few months we manage to fill the hotels to 25-30 percent capacity, that will be a success," Marisa said, but she does not anticipate a return to normal before 2024.

For those at the industry's sharp end, the recovery may come too late -- especially with little state support on offer.

"I will not survive this," said tuk-tuk driver Samran. "What do they want? Do they want me to beg in the streets? Do they want me to die of hunger?"

bur-sde/pdw/dhc/axn/ssy/qan

Bangladesh's villages bear the brutal cost of climate change .
SHYAMNAGAR, Bangladesh (AP) — With each tide, Abdus Satter watches the sea erode a little more of his life. His village of Bonnotola in southwestern Bangladesh, with its muddy roads and tin-roofed houses, was once home to over 2,000 people. Most were farmers like the 58-year-old Satter. Then the rising seas poisoned the soil with salt water. Two cyclones in the last two years destroyed the mud embankments that shielded the village from tidal waves. © Provided by Associated Press Villagers collect bricks from their house that was destroyed by natural disasters at Pratap Nagar in Satkhira, Bangladesh on Oct. 5, 2021.

usr: 5
This is interesting!