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Thailand bets on ‘golf quarantine’ to gradually reopen tourism


A deserted street in Bangkok’s Chinatown
A deserted street in Bangkok’s Chinatown | Commons


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Bangkok: Thailand is pitching half a dozen lush green golf courses as state quarantine centers to foreign tourists as the Southeast Asian seeks to gradually reopen its tourism industry.

The government approved six golf resorts, including three in Kanchanaburi province, where patrons can enjoy the game and roam freely within the premises rather than confining themselves in their rooms during a two-week mandatory quarantine, Tourism Authority of Thailand said.

The golf quarantine is the latest effort by Thai authorities to lure foreign travelers amid a new wave of Covid-19 infections after earlier offers of special long-stay visas evoked a lukewarm response. The pandemic has devastated Thailand’s tourism industry, which netted more than $60 billion in revenue from about 40 million visitors in 2019 and accounted for about a fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Prospective golf aficionados planning trips to Thailand will need visas, medical and travel insurance and a certificate of entry, according to a government announcement.

“Thailand remains a golfer’s paradise even during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the tourism authority said. “With fewer players on the links, it is now easier to book tee times, and the pace of play is much faster than ever with less wear and tear over the last year as well.”

The approved resorts include a par-72 course in Mida Golf Club in Kanchanaburi and an 18-hole course at Artitaya Golf & Resort in Nakhon Nayok.

Thailand’s government plans to collect $10 in tourist fee from each foreign visitor to start a new fund to provide insurance cover for any accidents or illnesses, Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said Thursday. Authorities expect to garner 3 billion baht this year from an estimated 10 million tourist arrivals, he said.- Bloomberg


Also read: These places thought they had nailed coronavirus. It’s creeping back


 

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