Business event professionals in Thailand are giving a lukewarm response to the government’s reduced mandatory quarantine, saying that inbound trips and events to the Kingdom would still be too tedious and pricey.
Sumate Sudasna, managing director of CDM (Conference & Destination Management) Thailand, explained that most foreign business arrivals to Thailand are for short meetings, and so any form of quarantine would be frowned upon.
Furthermore, quarantines will also add to their cost.
Sumate believes that reducing the mandatory quarantine period is not an effective plan to win back large groups of international business travellers, much less general tourists.
He told TTGmice that since December 2020, CDM Thailand had facilitated visits from some 10 groups of business travellers, mostly from Japan, South Korea, the US, Australia and the Netherlands, to check in on their factories and line production in the country. Most travellers did not serve quarantines, but all had to obtain pre-arrival approval from Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and medical teams. They were also closely monitored throughout their trip in Thailand.
Boontawee Jantasuwan, CEO of Events Travel Asia Group and president of SITE Thailand, opined that even if the quarantine period was shortened by half, it could only attract some incentive groups.
Arriving groups would have to extend their itineraries to accommodate the quarantine, resulting in higher costs. As such, larger events, such as conferences and exhibitions, would likely skip Thailand, Boontawee added.
Industry players believe that Thailand’s business events and business travel sectors would only recover with the absence of mandatory quarantines.
Currently, the Thai government is considering ceasing all quarantine requirements in October, a decision that is subject to zero domestic infections and control over the pandemic.
However, Boontawee expects a six-month lag for international travellers to restart their travel plans to Thailand, which would mean a return in international business events only in mid-2022.