Department of Health Service Support Submits “Villa Quarantine” Proposal
Published: August 25, 2020 at 12:17 pm
The Department of Health Service Support proposes allowing quarantine tourists to enjoy beauty and wellness treatments while confined to ASQs.
Following up on the government’s plan to reopen Phuket to limited foreign tourism in October, the Department of Health Service Support has submitted a proposal to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration which would allow “villa quarantine” arrangements for the visitors.
If approved, villa quarantine will allow tourists who are quarantined in alternate state quarantine (ASQ) hotels to enjoy spa services and other wellness treatments offered by the ASQ establishment.
As of today, the department has expressed only an intent to make a proposal and has not given an exact timeline on when it is going to submit the actual document to the CCSA.
Currently, the department is working in conjunction with various spa providers and hotels around the country to establish measures that will not only make villa quarantine possible but will also keep up with the public health measures established by the CCSA.
Over the weekend, the Thai government has announced its official intention to embark on a limited reopening of foreign tourism, beginning in the Phuket as part of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ “Safe and Sealed” campaign.
This phase of the campaign has been dubbed as “The Phuket Model,” and is set to begin in October 1.
The phase calls for a limited number of tourists, who will be required to register with the Foreign Ministry, to visit Phuket for 30 days. 14 of these days will be spent in alternate state quarantine, and an additional 7 days required if they want to expand their holidays to beyond Phuket.
The visitors will need to present a clean bill of health, and a COVID-19 health insurance, in order to qualify for the soft reopening. Upon arrival, they will be subjected to swab testing, with two other tests administered upon arrival at the ASQ and on the 13th day of quarantine.
Similar to the villa quarantine proposal, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn suggested that ASQ hotels co-located in a single strip of beach create a unified sealed zone and allow tourists to enjoy beach activities while on quarantine.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, Thailand’s tourism industry suffered a 71% drop in tourist visits from January until July, when compared to the same period in 2019.
Tourist spending for the first seven months of 2020 also dropped 70.4% year-on-year to total only THB332 billion.
There were virtually zero tourists from April until July with the lockdown imposed by the emergency decree remaining in place. By contrast, July 2019 alone saw 3.33 million tourists, and revenues of THB167 billion.
While foreign tourism remains at a standstill, the government continues to offer subsidized travel perks to locals to boost industry revenues.
The government is aiming to hit 5 million room night reservations by October 31, although the Tourism Authority of Thailand admitting that the “We Travel Together” stimulus package is performing below expectations.
The TAT has extended the same perks to corporations to offer to their business partners or employees in order to create fresh demand, while the Thai Hotels Association president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi is proposing extending the same perks to expatriates who also pay tax while staying in Thailand.