Covid-19 hit

South-East Asia tackles virus crisis

Thailand is ready to welcome more international tourists.
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Thailand is ready to welcome more international tourists.

Destinations in South-East Asia are urgently drawing up plans to combat the spread of coronavirus and the resulting slump in international tourism, especially from China.

Several countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, have already announced investment programmes to stimulate their economies, while Thailand and Indonesia may follow.

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Thailand reportedly had a 40-60% fall in international arrivals in February. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) emphasised to fvw that the Thai tourism industry is doing “everything possible” to strictly implement preventive measures to protect visitors and Thais from being exposed to the virus.

International media reported on Thursday that visitors from various countries, including Germany, Italy, France, China, South Korea and Japan, had been advised to stay in their hotels for two weeks after arriving in the country. But TAT clarified: “Thailand does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions against China or other affected areas. Also to date, the Thai government has not made any official announcement regarding self-quarantine for travellers from affected areas”.

The Singapore Tourist Board (STB) has announced a package of measures to support the tourism sector, including wage support for tour guides and reduced training fees. Chief Executive Keith Tan said: “While this is a tough time for tourism, we must position ourselves for a strong recovery. I urge tourism businesses not just to retain their workers, but also to take advantage of the support measures to help them build new skills and capabilities. With the industry’s support, I am confident we will be quick off the blocks when the situation improves.”

In its most recent Covid-19 update, Tourism Malaysia highlighted: “Tourist attractions in Malaysia are safe to be visited. All tourist attractions in Malaysia are operating as usual.”

Authorities in Indonesia are also working hard to reassure travellers that the country is safe to visit.