Chamber of commerce calls for abolition of 2nd RT-PCR test for tourists
The Thai Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday called on the government to cancel the requirement for foreign tourists to undergo the second RT-PCR test in hotels to help boost the tourism atmosphere.
The chairman of the chamber, Sanan Angubolkul, said many countries no longer required foreign tourists to undergo expensive RT-PCR tests once they arrived to make it more convenient for them to travel.
He was speaking at a press conference upon returning from leading a delegation from the chamber to Dubai to explore more trade, investment and tourism possibilities.
He said Thailand requires foreign tourists to have three RT-PCR tests – one 72 hours before departure by air and two more in the Kingdom – on the first day and the fifth day.
But many other countries, including Greece, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Austria and the United States, required only one PCR-Test 72 hours before they depart, Sanan said.
Sanan pointed out that the tourism atmosphere in the UAE, in particular, was very active as 100 per cent of its citizens have received full vaccination against the Covid-19 virus and 40 per cent have received a third dose and the country has never been locked down.
The chairman said the chamber of commerce has received complaints and opinions from tourism and hospitality operators that Test & Go measures needed to be further eased urgently.
“For the country to have a chance to move forward and revive the economy, the Test & Go measures should be eased urgently,” Sanan said.
He said the second test in the country or on the fifth day of foreign tourists’ stay should be cancelled.
“It creates too much of a burden for foreign tourists to receive up to three RT-PCR tests,” Sanan said, also counting the test before they depart their countries for Thailand.
Sanan expressed confidence that the cancellation of the RT-PCR test on the fifth day would promote inbound tourism and would benefit the tourism and service sectors greatly.
He said he and dozens of members of his delegation who had returned from Dubai had personally experienced how inconvenient it was for them to receive RT-PCR tests in hotels on the fifth day of their return.
Sanan said that requiring a second RT-PCR test at hotels could also place the foreign tourists at risk of getting infected at the test sites.
He said figures from February showed that only a small fraction of new cases were foreign tourists. He said 869 out of 82,887 foreign tourists, who entered the Kingdom in February, tested positive, accounting for only for 1.05 per cent of all tourists under the Test & Go scheme in the month.
He said the measures should be eased before April, which would be a high season for foreign tourists and foreign businessmen.
“The Thai Chamber of Commerce would like to call on the government to consider easing the Test & Go measures to make it more attractive to foreign travellers,” Sanan reiterated.