"We are still on high alert..."

By Cailey Rizzo
May 27, 2020
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While some countries are moving forward with plans to welcome back tourists in the summer months, Thailand will not be one of them.

"We are still on high alert, we just can't let our guards down yet,” governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Yuthasak Supasorn, told CNN on Wednesday. “We have to look at the country of origin [of visitors] to see if their situation has truly improved. And lastly, we have to see whether our own business operators are ready to receive tourists under the 'new normal'."

Since its coronavirus outbreak in March, Thailand has reported 3,054 cases of coronavirus and 57 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

Although travel options in Thailand are increasing, Phuket International Airport remains closed until further notice and locals are not yet allowed to travel freely. However, that could change next month as the country aims to restart domestic tourism. Hotels and resorts in select areas — like Hua Hin, a beach resort about 125 miles south of Bangkok — have already been given permission to welcome Thai visitors.

But moving forward with international visitors is a different story. The situation remains at a stand-still until the country’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) provides clearance to open borders.

Lauren DeCicca/Stringer via Getty

Earlier this month, the Thai cabinet agreed to extend the country’s national state of emergency until June 30 complete with a countrywide curfew in place from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. But that doesn’t mean that Thailand remains on strict lockdown during the day — some retail businesses, museums, and tourist attractions have already reopened.

Restaurants now allow dine-in customers but they are not allowed to serve alcohol and must sit at least six feet apart. Bars and nightclubs remain closed while theme parks, spas, and movie theatres are likely to reopen in June.

When Thailand does reopen for international visitors, it will be a gradual process. The country may only consider bilateral agreements with other nations who have a declining number of COVID-19 cases. Visitors may partake in long-stay packages in closed and isolated areas where health conditions can be easily monitored. These vacations could take the appearance of a sort of luxury quarantine in resort destinations like Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui.

Although several businesses have suffered financial difficulties without international customers, there are a few small positives throughout the country specifically in nature, CNN noted. Animals have been returning to land typically occupied by humans. For the first time in six years, green turtles laid eggs at beaches in Koh Samui.

The animal reappearances lead to the new rule of closing their national parks for two to three months per year to help achieve sustainable tourism goals.