BANGKOK, Feb 21 — Capital A Bhd (formerly AirAsia Group Bhd) chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has called on the Thai government to ease Covid-19 travel requirements for international visitors in a bid to boost tourist arrivals.
He urged the government to consider waiving the second Covid-19 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for visitors on the fifth day of their stay under the quarantine-free Test & Go scheme.
To make travelling easier, he also asked the government to consider scrapping the requirements of applying for a Thailand Pass and buying travel insurance.
“Test & Go is great but we must limit the number of tests. Most tourists coming into Thailand are from Asean countries. They generally travel between four and five days. If there are lots of tests, the tests are more expensive than flights… Maybe only one (Covid-19 RT-PCR) test is needed.
“Hopefully, we do not need a Thailand Pass as airlines can do their part by checking all necessary documents, including vaccine certificates for travellers entering Thailand.
“I am very optimistic that people want to come to Thailand. It is time to help tourism industry. Therefore, we need to make traveling easier,” he told reporters after the launch of airasia Super App here today.
At present, under the Test & Go programme, fully vaccinated travellers have to apply for a Thailand Pass before entering the kingdom, where they need to purchase a medical insurance with minimum coverage of US$50,000 (RM209,375) and RT-PCR Covid-19 test result 72 hours before travelling.
Besides that, travellers have to pre-book SHA Extra certified hotel and RT-PCR Covid-19 tests for Day 1 and Day 5.
Meanwhile, Fernandes expressed optimism that there would be rise in international tourist arrivals to Thailand if the government eased all travel requirements.
“Now people wanted to come to Thailand. It all depends on how the government would like to open up. We, AirAsia, are ready to put all the flights on,” he said.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand recorded nearly 40 million visitors. The number of tourist arrivals dived to 6.7 million in 2020.
The National Economic and Social Development Council today projected 5.5 million tourists this year.
Earlier, Fernandes launched airasia Super App, an all-in-one platform offering consumers over 16 lines of products and services via the app as well as airasia.com website.
The app, which currently has 51 million users, targets to be Asean’s top app by 2026, said airasia Super App chief executive officer Amanda Woo.
She said the app has been recognised as a unicorn in the technological space within less than two years.
“We evolved from just an airline into a platform that offers over 16 categories of services. We are one of the leading online travel agencies for the region as we are a single-stop platform for travel services such as flights from over 700 airlines globally, a large inventory of hotels, apart from offerings such as our flight + hotel platform.
“On the path to becoming the region’s leading lifestyle application, airasia Super App is projected to double the users by 2026,” she added. — Bernama