Thai groups seek custom quarantines for foreign investors

There are about 10,000 businesspeople in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Europe currently seeking entry into Thailand for investment purposes

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

According to Thai Chamber of Commerce chairperson Karin Sarasin, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking 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.

The joint standing committee is a panel comprised of Thailand’s Board of Trade, Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Bankers’ Association.

The panel estimates that 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.

“We want to propose opening up Thailand to groups of business people, 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 programme for some investors and executives as part of a “business-travel bubble”. It would have allowed Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan passport holders, along with people from some of the Chinese provinces, to enter Thailand starting 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,” Singapore-based Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office chief economist Hoe Ee Khor said in a press briefing yesterday.

The Thai government walked back that programme 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 programmes to issue visas to qualified migrant workers from neighbouring countries, foreign film crews, people involved in trade exhibitions and medical tourists. — Bloomberg