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Update May, 2020


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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
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Covid-19 relief committee set up for Thai tourism sector

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

BANGKOK – The Tourism and Sports Ministry set up a new committee to help provide assistance to tourism professionals and businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn presided over a meeting to consider financial measures for tourism operators. 

Senior officials from relevant agencies and representatives from 13 tourism professionals including tour guides, hotel operators, transportation operators for tourists and inbound and outbound tour operators as well as members of Tourism Council of Thailand attended the meeting. 

To maintain competitiveness of the country’s tourism and readiness for moving forward after the Covid-19 crisis, the ministry appointed a committee to revive tourism and sport industries. 

The committee is authorized to propose relief measures and policies and prepare post-crisis recovery measures, covering all tourism sectors, hard hit by the impacts of the pandemic. (TNA)


TAT language training prepares Thai tourism personnel for post-COVID-19 era

Online Spanish and Portuguese lessons from Chulalongkorn and Thammasat Universities.

Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is organising Spanish and Portuguese language training courses online for 150 tourism industry staff, conducted by two of the country’s best universities, the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University and the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Thammasat University.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, noted that there was still lack a lot of travel industry personnel who could communicate in these languages, and the online courses taking place during May and July 2020, aimed to prepare Thai tourism personnel ready for the post-COVID-19 era.

“During the current downtrend tourism trend during the COVID-19 outbreak, TAT is keen to do its part to support the government’s policy. We are using this downtime to train and prepare industry personnel previously employed in the country’s tourism industry and help them build confidence and recover quickly once travel to Thailand returns,” Mr Yuthasak, said.

According to the TAT’s survey of tourist guides’ training needs for the year 2020, it found that tour guides were interested in training in Spanish, second only to Mandarin, in addition to Portuguese which ranked sixth.

The TAT’s online courses are in respond to the Thai government’s call to action to help tourism personnel expand their potential third language skills.

Spanish and Portuguese are most in demand to work with visitors from Brazil, Spain, and Mexico, which are considered emerging markets for tourists visiting Thailand. (tatnews.org)


Thailand’s train services step up anti-COVID-19 social distancing measures

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and the Bangkok Expressway and Metro (BEM) gear up anti-COVID-19 social distancing measures.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update from the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and the Bangkok Expressway and Metro (BEM) regarding anti-COVID-19 social distancing measures, especially during the rush hour to prevent the spread of the virus.

The MRTA and BEM have applied social distancing rules by limiting the number of people using the train at a time, or releasing groups in three steps: before entering and exiting the train system; before entering through the automatic ticketing machines, and before entering the trains. This has resulted in longer waiting time for commuters.

Therefore, the MRTA and BEM have deployed six more trains during the rush hour on the MRT Blue Line, after previously adding three more trains on 24 March, 2020. This means nine extra trains from normally 40 trains in operation during the rush hour. Moreover, the special trains will be deployed only from high-traffic stations without picking up any commuters from previous stations.

The MRT and BEM are seeking cooperation from commuters to plan their travel ahead to ensure that they reach their final destination on time.  

For health and safety, fever screening is applied at every MRT station. Commuters are required to follow social distancing rules, wear a face mask at all time while using the system, and wash their hands before entering and after existing the train system. Hand sanitizers are provided at each station. (tatnews.org)


Phuket International Airport to resume operations from May 16

Phuket International Airport.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest announcement from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) regarding the reopening of Phuket International Airport for domestic flights from 00.01 Hrs. of 16 May.

The CAAT cited the request by the Phuket Governor backed by the approval from the local communicable disease control committee as well as Phuket’s effectiveness on surveillance, prevention and control of the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as reasons for approving the reopening of Phuket International Airport.

The CAAT noted that the Airport must follow the operating hours already stipulated for other airports that resumed domestic flights from 1 May.

Meanwhile, passengers entering Phuket are required to complete a form (download from here) to allow officials to keep track of them for medical checks.

TAT will provide further updates once we know which airlines will resume domestic flights to Phuket, starting 16 May. (tatnews.org)


‘Mok Prao’ informal art installation warms the heart of those on Ko Phangan

Shows how the Thai concept of 'Nam Jai' can offer moral support and positivity during COVID-19.

What started as a simple idea of one man on Ko Phangan has warmed the hearts of foreign travelers left stranded on the island because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Initiated and created by Siam Healing Centre, the project promotes local Thai artist Chatuphum Loosiri (also known as ‘Caveman’ on the island) whose painting images on discarded coconut palm parts (‘Mok Prao’) are displayed along a roadside on Phra Prao Road. This put a smile on the faces of those who past there, perfectly capturing the Thai concept of ‘Nam Jai’ that can offer moral support and extend generosity during COVID-19.

Chatuphum ‘s effort quickly went viral once the number of coconut images grew and became a popular social media check in spot. He began offering those who stopped by hand gel to clean their hands and then let them try their own hand at painting.

“It has helped bond us together in close friendship during the crisis. We share the gift of happiness, smiles and laughter together. When I draw or paint, it helps me stay calm and relaxed, so I thought it might do the same for other.

“Some people might not be aware they can draw, and for those who are new to it, I am happy to demonstrate basic drawing techniques to them,” he added.

To date almost 60 people and more than 20 countries have contributed to the now impressive work of art.

When Thai people say that a person has ‘Nam Jai’, it means that this person is happy to make sacrifices for friends and extend hospitality to strangers. Chatuphum started out with just hand gel and painting lessons then offered to help more when he learned about foreign tourists in need. For those he found really in trouble regarding accommodation or food, he has taken in and shared what he has in the spirit of being generous and warm hearted to others. (tatnews.org)


Krabi prepares to reopen tourist sites, whale shark spotted near Koh Tao

A large whale shark measured 15 meters in length spotted at diving sites around Koh Tao.

KRABI- The southern seaside province of Krabi has laid out a plan to restore natural resources and reopen its tourist sites after the end of COVID-19 pandemic.

The provincial administration held a meeting with the private sector, tourism-related organizations and local public agencies on Tuesday.

All marine attractions in Krabi, like all across Thailand, have been closed due to COVID-19 since March.

Krabi Governor Kitibhodi Prawit said the discussion was about the reassessment and rehabilitation of the tourist spots in preparation for the post-COVID-19 tourism environment.

“New disease prevention and safety measures will be imposed when the next tourist season begins later this year”, he said.

In the Gulf of Thailand, a team of divers conducted an inspection at diving sites around Koh Tao Island.  They spotted a large whale shark measured 15 meters in length.

Beaches and marine biological sites in Thailand have been closed to tourists.  There has been no date set for lifting the closures.  Some popular seaside attractions such as those in Pattaya will remain closed, at least, until the end of May. (TNA) 

The Krabi provincial administration held a meeting with the private sector, tourism-related organizations and local public agencies.

All marine attractions in Krabi have been closed due to COVID-19 since March.


Yearly national park break proposed in Thailand for wild animals, nature to regenerate

Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment.

RAYONG - The Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment is aiming to propose a three month closure every year of national parks, to allow nature to regenerate itself.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa mentioned the proposal during a trip to preside over a mangrove forest planting event and the new nature and marine creature exhibition center in Rayong province. He was speaking during the present closure of national parks all over the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak. have been appearing more often than at other times, because human activities are no longer a threat. To help promote natural regeneration, the ministry is now creating a plan to close all national parks and their attractions for three months every year.

However, the minister also asked tourists and local residents to help conserve national resources and travel without harming wildlife in any way. The ministry will announce the closure period of each national park later. (NNT)


Ranong mangrove forest in Thailand nominated for ‘natural world heritage’ status

Ranong mangrove forest area, southern Thailand.

RANONG - May 10 has been declared National Mangrove Forest Day and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) has been preparing to nominate Ranong’s mangrove forest area natural world heritage status.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said that the Cabinet has designated May 10 of every year as "National Mangrove Forest Day". On 10 May 1991, His Royal Highness King Rama 9 first addressed the importance of mangroves at the Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Chitralada Garden, marking Thailand’s recognition of the value of mangrove forests. Responsible agencies have jointly sought suitable areas for experimentation on and propagation of mangrove species.

The MNRE has been preparing to nominate Ranong’s mangrove forest area, which contains high biodiversity, as a natural world heritage site. It has also established the Rama 9 International Mangrove Forest Botanical Garden in Chanthaburi, in honor of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother. It is the world’s first mangrove based botanical garden, which collects mangrove forest plants from around the world and serves as a joint research area for academics from around the world, as well as being a new tourist destination in Thailand.(NNT)


Phuket arranges transport for people leaving for hometowns

Chalong Subdistrict Municipality is arranging buses to transport people to their home provinces.

PHUKET- As a resort island where many people come to work, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused job cuts in Phuket, resulting in many people now needing to return home. One local municipality has arranged buses to transport those who wanted to leave.

The Mayor of Chalong Subdistrict Municipality, Samran Jindapol said the municipality has arranged buses to transport people to their home provinces; people who came to work in Phuket, but who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tourism island province in the Andaman Sea has been severely impacted by the pandemic, causing businesses to close with many people losing their jobs.

All persons who wish to travel from Phuket back to their hometown have to undergo a health screening, and are subject to a 14-day period of quarantine upon arrival there, in accordance with the Ministry of Public Health’s measures.

On each of the arranged buses, only 14 passengers are allowed on board at a time. All passengers are required to wear a face mask throughout their journey.

Meanwhile, Chalong Subdistrict Municipality is distributing another set of relief bags to villagers.(NNT)


Boat service on SaenSaep canal in Bangkok increases frequency

The number of boat passengers on SaenSaep canal in Bangkokis on the rise, following the easing of some lockdown measures.

After an easing of lockdown restrictions, the Deputy Minister of Transport, AtiratRatanasate, has instructed the boat service on SaenSaep canal in Bangkok to follow social distancing guidelines to help limit the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mr. Atirat said after inspecting the boat service canal and observing commuters at Pratunam and Asoke piers that the number of boat passengers is on the rise, following the easing of some lockdown measures. There were only 5,000 to 6,000 boat passengers per day when the measures were fully imposed. Now, the number is more than 10,000 a day. In normal times, some 50,000 people use the boat service on SaenSaep canal each day.

All 28 piers are strictly implementing COVID-19 preventive measures. Passengers are required to have their body temperature taken and use hand sanitizers before boarding a canal boat. While using the service, they are asked to wear protective masks and maintain at least one meter distance from others on board.

The Deputy Minister of Transport also ordered boat operators to increase service frequency by adding more boats, from 40 to 60, and reducing passengers’ waiting time to three to five minutes per trip. Social distancing stickers are placed on all boats and piers. Seats are arranged so that passengers are at least one meter apart. Boat service providers are using closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to monitor the number of passengers. If the boat is crowded, the situation will be addressed immediately. Before boarding, all passengers are required to have their temperature taken, wear face masks, maintain a safe distance between each other and follow the safety guidelines.(NNT)


Bangkok Airways offers special domestic airfare for medical staff

Bangkok Airways is offering 20% discount off normal airfares and participating promotional fares for medical staff including doctors, nurses, and medical technicians on all domestic routes.

Reservations can be made from 6 May – 31 July, 2020, and the travelling period is valid from 15 May – 31 July, 2020.

A valid medical ID card must be presented at the check-in counter to be eligible to travel.

For more information or reservations, please contact the Bangkok Airways call centre 1771 or 02-270-6699 during office hours. (tatnews.org)


Temple visits changed on Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand

Thai and Lao Buddhists gave alms to monks at Wat Samakkhi Uppatham in Bung Kan province under health precautionary measures.

BUNG KAN – Buddhists were required to follow disease control measures when they visited temples for activities to mark the Visakha Bucha Day.

In the northeastern province of Bung Kan, Thai and Lao Buddhists gave alms to monks at Wat SamakkhiUppatham in Wisit sub-district of Muang Bung Kan district. All of them wore face masks and kept distances from one another.

Concerns about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reduced the number of Buddhists at the temple on the Buddhist important day commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. The Bung Kan office of Buddhism prohibited all local Buddhist temples from organizing Visakha Bucha Day activities and advised people to do their religious activities at home to help contain COVID-19.

In Chachoengsao province, crowds showed up at the popular Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan in the morning. About 30 health officials were there to check body temperatures of visitors and require them to sanitize their hands, wear face masks and keep distance from one another. The number of people allowed to enter the ordination hall was limited at 20 at a time and people queuing up were seated apart from each other.

Candle-lit processions were suspended there and Thai classical dancers who served prayers were located away from the temple. (TNA)


Phuket cloudy with scattered thunderstorms, wave 2m. high, maximum temp 37 C

Phi Phi Islands, Andaman Sea, a paradise on earth for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts near Province of Phuket. (TAT photo).

Southern Part Weather (West Coast)

Cloudy with isolated thunderstorms mostly in Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun. Minimum temperature 25-26 C. Maximum temperature 33-36 C. Northwesterly winds 15-35 km/hr. Wave height 1-2 meters and above 2 meters in thundershowers areas.

During 6 - 9 May, isolated to scattered thunderstorms. During 10 - 12 May, scattered thunderstorms. Minimum temperature 23-27C. Maximum temperature 34-37C. Westerly winds 20 - 35 km/hr. Wave height about 2 meters and above 2 meters in the thunderstorm areas.

Phuket 7 days Weather Forecast


Chiang Mai hot to very hot, maximum temp 42 C during the day

Chiang Mai Night Safari located at the foot of Doi Suthep, about 12 kilometers from the city of Chiang Mai. The zoo is closed for the health public protection since March 27, 2020.

Chiang Mai and Northern Part Weather

Hot to very hot with isolated thunderstorms and gusty wind mostly in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Tak, KamphaengPhet and Phetchabun. Minimum temperature 24-29 C. Maximum temperature 37-41 C. Southwesterly winds 10-30 km/hr.

During 6 - 9 May, hot to very hot. Isolated thunderstorms mostly in the lower part. Minimum temperature 24-28C. Maximum temperature 37-42C. During 10 - 12 May, hot during the day. Isolated to scattered thunderstorms with gusty wind and hails. Minimum temperature 22-25C. Maximum temperature 36-39C. Southwesterly wind 10-30 km/hr.

 

Chiang Mai 7 days Weather Forecast.


Bangkok hot to very hot, isolated thunderstorms, maximum temp 40C

 

Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple (wat) in Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok. (TAT photo)

Bangkok and Central Part Weather

During 6 - 9 May, hot to very hot. Isolated thunderstorms. During 10 - 12 May, hot during the day. Isolated to scattered thunderstorms with gusty wind. Minimum temperature 26-29 C. Maximum temperature 37-40C. Southerly wind 10-30 km/hr.

Hot to very hot with isolated thunderstorms and gusty wind mostly in Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, UthaiThani and Nakhon Sawan. Minimum temperature 27-29 C. Maximum temperature 39-42 C. Southeasterly winds 10-30 k/hr.

Bangkok 7 days Weather Forecast 


Restaurants, businesses and venues reopen with strict health and safety guidelines

A dining tradition of old Chiang Mai and the Lanna Kingdom, a khan toke dinner.

Sunday May 3 marks a full week that Thailand has seen the number of new COVID-19 cases drop below 10 on a daily basis (27 April, nine cases; 28 April, seven cases; 29 April, nine cases; 30 April, seven cases; 1 May, six cases, and 2 May, six cases).

Bangkok– The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update that businesses and venues are allowed to reopen May 3 with strict health and safety guidelines in line with Directives 5 and 6 under the extended Emergency Decree.

The Royal Thai Government has allowed relaxation of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) containment restrictions for 10 clusters of businesses and venues starting 3 May, 2020.

The Bangkok Governor and Provincial Governors have the authority to continue the existing restrictions or implement the relaxation in line with the government’s directives and according to the local situation.

The sale of food and drinks in hotels, airports, train stations, bus stations, hospitals, restaurants and beverage shops, convenience stores, and street stalls is allowed. Pubs and bars can open, for take-home services or under strict health guidelines.

The sale of alcohol sale is allowed to resume from today, but consumption must be at home and gatherings are not allowed.

Shopping malls, department stores, community malls can still only open supermarkets, pharmacies, necessity items for daily life, banks, government and state enterprise services. Restaurants and food outlets can open but only take-home service is allowed.

Retail shops, wholesalers, markets, floating markets and flea markets can open with strict health guidelines. Hairdressers and barbers can reopen for limited services and by appointment only.

Hospitals, clinics, dental clinics and all healthcare facilities can open, except for cosmetic clinics. Golf courses and driving ranges as well as outdoor sport facilities – specifically for tennis courts, horse riding tracks, shooting ranges and archery ranges – can open, but no gatherings or competitions. Public parks can open for outdoor activities including running, walking, cycling or individual physical exercise, but no gatherings, competitions or shows. Pet shops and hospitals can open on appointment only.

Business and venue operators must follow guidance issued by the Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health. Five key measures are cleaning, wearing masks, provision of hand washing stations, physical distancing, and limiting the number of people. Additional measures are temperature screening, reducing time spent in close contact, one metre spacing for queuing, increasing ventilation.

Monitoring of businesses will be done randomly. Members of the public are encouraged to contribute to monitoring the adherence to guidance by business operators.

The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) reiterated that collaboration from the public is key. Decisions to move to subsequent phases of re-opening will depend number of new cases and number of people violating curfew.

On Sunday, Thailand reported three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,969. Of these, 92.25% (2,739) have recovered, 1.81% (54) have died – no new deaths, and 5.92% (176) are receiving treatment. Today marks a full week that Thailand has seen the number of new cases dropped below 10 on a daily basis (27 April, nine cases; 28 April, seven cases; 29 April, nine cases; 30 April, seven cases; 1 May, six cases, and 2 May, six cases).

The Ministry of Public Health has issued recommendations, asking for cooperation from everyone to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease, by keeping social distance, wearing a mask or cloth mask, frequently washing hands especially travellers from the risk-provinces that have reported large number of cases such as Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Phuket.

People must avoid close contact with other persons, no hugging especially with the vulnerable groups like the elderly, or those who have underlying conditions because it can increase the infection rate and potentially lead to severe disease more easily than in other groups.

People can greet via Wai (Thai greeting) from a distance of 1 or 2 metres. When staying together, people must wear the masks, use personal utensils or serving spoons, or eat a la carte servings to protect themselves and loved ones from getting the disease. (tatnews.org)

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Phuket Airport closure extended until May 15

Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide the latest update that the temporary closure of Phuket International Airport has been extended until 15 May, 2020.

The existing order by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) covers the period from 10-30 April, 2020.

According to the CAAT, its decision to extend the closure of Phuket International Airport for 15 more days is based on the proposal from Phuket Province citing new cases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections are still being reported in the province on a daily basis.

The CAAT continues to allow exceptions for landings of the following aircraft: state or military aircraft; emergency landing; technical landing without passenger disembarkation; humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights; repatriation flights, and cargo aircraft.

(tatnews.org)


TAT again extends its work from home approach until May 17

Bangkok – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is for the fourth time extending its work from home approach for staff at the TAT Head Office and TAT Bangkok Office until 17 May, 2020, with the reopening date rescheduled for Monday, 18 May, 2020.

For TAT domestic offices, the reopening dates may vary in line with the local situation.

TAT previously asked its staff to work from home from 23 March to 5 April, then extended until 15 April, and further extended until 30 April, in line with the Thai government’s social distancing guidance as well as several nationwide measures under the Emergency Decree to prevent and mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

On Tuesday, 28 March, 2020, the Thai cabinet approved the extension of the Emergency Decree for one more month, from 1-31 May, 2020, with key directives remaining unchanged including the ban on all incoming commercial flights and the nationwide 22.00-04.00 Hrs night-time curfew.

As the nation continues its unprecedented measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, TAT as a state-run enterprise is doing its utmost to strictly implement preventive measures and heighten awareness for all its staff and tourists in Thailand to protect them from being exposed to the virus.

Taking into consideration the aim to safeguard public health, while TAT continues its work from home approach, it adheres with the policy of the Thai tourism industry to provide and maintain quality services. TAT remains contactable for tourism information at the TAT Contact Centre 1672 during 08.00 – 20.00 Hrs.

TAT apologizes for any inconvenience should international and domestic tourists be unable to contact our local offices during this time of difficulty. (tatnews.org)
 


DAILY UPDATE

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Covid-19 relief committee set up for Thai tourism sector

TAT language training prepares Thai tourism personnel for post-COVID-19 era

Thailand’s train services step up anti-COVID-19 social distancing measures

Phuket International Airport to resume operations from May 16

‘Mok Prao’ informal art installation warms the heart of those on Ko Phangan


Krabi prepares to reopen tourist sites, whale shark spotted near Koh Tao


Yearly national park break proposed in Thailand for wild animals, nature to regenerate

Ranong mangrove forest in Thailand nominated for ‘natural world heritage’ status


Phuket arranges transport for people leaving for hometowns

Boat service on SaenSaep canal in Bangkok increases frequency


Bangkok Airways offers special domestic airfare for medical staff

Temple visits changed on Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand

Phuket cloudy with scattered thunderstorms, wave 2m. high, maximum temp 37 C

Chiang Mai hot to very hot, maximum temp 42 C during the day

Bangkok hot to very hot, isolated thunderstorms, maximum temp 40C


Restaurants, businesses and venues reopen with strict health and safety guidelines


Phuket Airport closure extended until May 15

TAT again extends its work from home approach until May 17