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Thailand urged to prepare more flexible quarantine options for July 1 reopening
WorldMar 31. 2021John Brown
By The Nation
Bangkok currently ranks sixth in Agoda.com’s search lists, highlighting a resurgence of interest in international travel.
Vaccine rollouts, talk of Covid-19 passports and alternative hotel quarantine have triggered an increase in international travel searches, said the popular travel platform on Tuesday.
However, Agoda reported Thailand-based searches had zero international destinations in the top 30 this month, indicating Thais are happy to stay at home.
The platform said its search data highlights growing optimism across Asia that international travel will start to return, with Australia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia witnessing an increase in the number of international destinations in their top 30 searches in March compared to December.
Travellers from these markets are joining China, Taiwan and Singapore in their optimism for the resumption of international travel, said Agoda.
“There are definitely reasons for the travel industry in Asia to start to feel more optimistic,” said Agoda CEO John Brown, citing vaccine rollout and tourism subsidy schemes such as TTogether in Thailand and GoTo Japan.
However, he said the pace of vaccination will vary, with markets such as Singapore fully vaccinated this year and others like Thailand, Japan and Vietnam likely waiting until 2022.
“So these heavily tourism-dependent economies need to consider how to accelerate the return to normality. … alternative state quarantine [ASQ], as launched in Thailand and Hong Kong, might prove to be a sensible solution in line with a vaccine programme.”
Agoda said it had collaborated with Thailand’s Public Health Ministry to allow Thai nationals and residents to choose their preferred ASQ accommodation direct on the travel platform. Agoda’s ASQ platform would offer the same flexibility to international tourists when Thailand opening its borders this July, the company said.
“With more markets exploring travel corridors [or “bubbles”], alternative state quarantine accommodation provides a solution to help resume international travel by enabling travellers to choose a quarantine property that best suits their needs,” said Brown.