Thailand’s Tourism Re-Opening Plan Includes Following Visitors 24/7, Banning Contact With Locals

Remember Thailand’s ridiculous tourism visa scheme? Turns out that no one even applied. It’s been called off, and leadership is back developing a new plan: Assign someone to follow around each tourist, and make sure they don’t have contact with any Thai people.

Under the tentative proposal from Thailand’s director-general of the health service support department, tourists from low risk places testing negative for the virus could engage in certain outdoor activities that do not bring them into contact with Thai people, such as golfing.

They would be required to:

  • Wear tracking devices
  • “Stick to routes where other Thai people do not go. They must not veer off course at all.”
  • “Be followed around 24/7 by Covid minders”

Chao Praya River Would Be Off Limits

The plan has support from tourist regions including Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Seven provinces have expressed an interest in this latest model for Thai tourism. They all have the necessary health provision should things go wrong.

They are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north, Phuket and Surat Thani in the south, Chonburi and Rayong on the Eastern Seaboard and Buriram in the North East.

What Is Even The Point Of Visiting If You Can’t Eat Street Food?

I can’t imagine that assigning workers to follow each tourist will be popular with tourists. It also doesn’t scale well, since you need to employ as many Thais for this, potentially, as you have tourists. Moreover tourists would presumably be required to pay the cost of their own monitoring. Of course if tourists are kept segregated and in groups fewer minders might be required, in something like the North Korea model where visitors also are “not allowed to talk to locals or stray from set itineraries.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I was part of a doctors’ group visiting China in 1986, and we were assigned to secret police minders. They were with us everywhere! They made sure we didn’t talk to any locals or go off the assigned path. It was kind of weird, but we tolerated it.

  2. “Certain conditions would allow tourists to leave their doom during quarantine”

    Its nice to know that we can leave our doom during this quarantine

  3. Agreed with ffi. If I was looking at country-by-country infection rates, I would be waiting a long time before admitting folks from the United States.

    Of course this flies in the face of comments on VFTW and OOMAT. People think HEPA filters are the finger of God and magically remove viruses at the rate of infinite/second, they believe that taking off masks to eat on airplanes is fine because food, and that (on the same token) heading to restaurants and unmasking near other people (who are also unmasked) is also no probbie.

    No connection is made between this cavalier attitude about mask usage and the state of Covid in the US. With that as a backdrop, we better argue against potential mandates, because if there’s anything we’ve learned from the 2nd amendment, it’s that Americans are *extra good* at self-governing.

    I can’t tell if this stuff is avarice or ignorance.

  4. I would definitely be for this, if they paid for everything to. They want stupid, I can oblige.

  5. “I can’t tell if this stuff is avarice or ignorance.” In a country with a history of war cries and slogans like “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” Don’t Tread on Me,” “Come and Take It,” and the like you would have to ignorant to expect Americans to orderly follow government mandates. From fighting recommendations for vaccinations to attend school to disobeying recommendations to socially distance in BLM protests, the American population is disorderly. Heck, half the population has been fighting the president every step of the way for four years and while many fear COVID 19, part of the population (like Jane Fonda) call it God’s Gift to the Left.. Since COVID 19 disproportionately kills blacks and minorities, that kind of Left thinking really reeks of racism. I guess if Trump, on the Right, easily overcame COVID 19 then people like Jane must think God is on his side? In any event controlling the spread of disease in any country during an undeclared civil war is daunting. Lincoln in his civil war learned that when he lost a son to the typhoid epidemic, but in this civil war all he lost was his statues (in Portland, among other places). It seems in the era of BLM, Black Emancipator’s Legacies (Don’t) Matter , civil disruption and chaos just rage on and the world remains mostly shuttered to American visitors. It has gotten so bad these days that even Hanoi Jane Fonda is not allowed to visit Vietnam.

  6. Keep Americans out of the world please… let them have a couple desperate countries like Mexico and Turkey to visit.

  7. @AlohaDaveKennedy – Hanoi Jane? That’s really what you’ve got? Fixating a little hard on someone who half the country doesn’t even know. Just for fun, how about not going on a rant against BLM, Portland, and other people just because you disagree with their political views. Maybe leave politics aside as your non-political comments tend to be pretty interesting and insightful.

  8. This should be seen in the context of the desire to re-set the target tourist demographic. Delusional though it may seem, Thailand would like to change its image, and move away from the back-packer, cheap-charlie, sex tourist focus…to high-end resorts, high-spending groups, medical and mall shoppers.
    Khaosan Road, street food, ping pong shows, wannabe Buddhists , Hippies and the great unwashed, are out….as the razor-sharp minds in charge have determined that there’s no reason why the country shouldn’t quadruple the daily per capita spend and reach income levels of The Maldives. It’s the kind of thinking that’s well-known to anyone with more than a passing association with the land of smiles…

  9. Why would I want to go to Thailand unless I can interact, in a manner of speaking, with the locals?

    Walking Street is for more than walking.

  10. Delusional rules…what is the point if you can’t interact with the people that make it so great to visit to begin with? Having a “minder” is fine if I decide to go to North Korea, but not Thailand. But this is all about personal choice so if one wants to put up with it then more power to them.

  11. The only people that would be ok with this are the people who go to foreign countries and stay in their own little bubbles without ANY contact with the people or culture. Not interested in this in the slightest and it seems like the military could use this to further isolate groups that speak out against them.

  12. Wow – and here I was thinking that surely nothing could be more idiotic than that last tourism visa… I was wrong.

  13. Totally idiotic plan. I think monkeys would come up with better plans than these low IQ bozos in charge.

  14. It’s changing so Thailand will soon become an expensive place to visit only for the high end wealthy tourists oh well there’s always Vietnam or other really cheap countries in the world.

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