COVID-19: Thai minister proposes ‘golf quarantine’ to boost tourism

Bangkok: Thailand’s Tourism Minister said on Monday he had proposed a plan to allow foreigners to quarantine in some of the country’s many golf resorts to boost the ailing tourism sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We are discussing with the Public Health Ministry and the country’s coronavirus taskforce to offer hotel and golf quarantine for tourists with medical certificates,” Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told reporters.

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Foreign tourists would be able to spend the two-week quarantine period at a specified resort and move around in the hotel area and also play golf, he said, rather than just isolating in their rooms.

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The plan, which is subject to the approval of the cabinet, comes as the Southeast Asian country grapples with a second wave of coronavirus infections after managing to largely contain community spread for months.

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Thailand has reported a relatively low 10,547 COVID-19 infections and 67 deaths, though since several clusters emerged in December the country has been recording several hundred new cases a day.

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Thailand attracted 40 million tourists in 2019 who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($63.4 billion), but the number of visitors dived during the pandemic after its borders were sealed, devastating hotels, restaurants and tourist spots that relied on foreigner visitors.

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A special visa scheme that was started last year for long stay visitors has attracted about 1,000 visitors, Phiphat said.

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