Thai Groups Seek Custom Quarantines for Foreign Investors

Thailand can spark a revival in foreign investment and stimulate its economy by creating alternative quarantine programs for foreign business travelers, according to a group of industry associations.

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking, a panel comprised by the Board of Trade of Thailand, Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Bankers’ Association, will propose a plan to the government that would expand the locations people coming into the country can use for the mandatory 14-day quarantine, according to Karin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

The panel estimates there are about 10,000 businesspeople in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Europe currently seeking entry into Thailand for investment purposes. The group is speaking with hotel operators about using their facilities as government-approved quarantine sites. In addition to state-owned units, Thailand currently has about 10,000 alternative quarantine rooms at more than 100 hotels of varying prices and brands nationwide, including those of Best Western, Ibis and Conrad.

Thai Groups Seek Custom Quarantines for Foreign Investors

“We want to propose opening up Thailand to groups of businesspeople, with quarantine measures, as they will help generate revenue for many hotel operators,” Karin told reporters on Wednesday. “The Thai economy still lacks a driving force and there are many fragile spots remaining, especially in the tourism industry.”

In June, the Thai government mulled an entry program for some investors and executives as part of a “business-travel bubble.” It would’ve allowed Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan passport holders, along with people from some Chinese provinces, to enter Thailand starting from July if they could deliver economic benefits or funds.

“Recovery in Thailand may be a bit slow, but the fact that they have the virus under control means they can open up much faster,” Hoe Ee Khor, chief economist at the Singapore-based Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, known as AMRO, said in a press briefing Thursday.

The Thai government walked back that program amid a surge in infections in many countries and several incidents in Thailand that led to thousands of locals being tested for Covid-19.

Still, Thailand did ease some restrictions in late-July, with programs to issue visas to qualified migrant workers from neighboring countries, foreign film crews, people involved in trade exhibitions and medical tourists.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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