Thai PM orders study on COVID-19 'vaccine passports' to boost tourism

Thai PM orders study on COVID-19 'vaccine passports' to boost tourism

BANGKOK: Thailand's prime minister said on Tuesday (Mar 2) he has commissioned a study to look into issuing COVID-19 vaccination certificates for international travellers, as the country seeks to revive a tourism industry battered by coronavirus curbs.

The Southeast Asian nation has been mulling the idea of so-called "vaccine passports", but no target date has been set and tourism operators have complained about lost revenue.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Thailand will proceed with caution, waiting to see how effective vaccines are first in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"I have already ordered the study so we can be prepared, but it's also important that we proceed in line with other countries," Prayut said in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.

READ: Thailand starts COVID-19 vaccination campaign

People in Thailand who are vaccinated would be given certificates, which could be used for international travel, he said.

Thai authorities will meet next week to discuss procedures to obtain such certificates, as well as quarantine arrangements for tourists with "vaccine passports" entering Thailand.

Previously, officials have said vaccinated visitors could have mandatory quarantine cut from two weeks to three days or waived entirely.

The global vaccine rollout has given hope to the pandemic-hit tourism industry, which makes up about 11 per cent of Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.

In 2020, Thailand's tourism revenue slumped to 332 billion baht (US$10.94 billion) from 1.91 trillion baht a year earlier, as visitor numbers plunged by 83 per cent.

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Source: Reuters/zl

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