BANGKOK, 21 July 2020: 
As the world has seen the complete halt of travel due to the Covid-19
pandemic, destination management companies in Thailand are implementing health
standards to shore up travel consumer confidence.

The Thailand Hygiene Plus Initiative (THPI) has been developed by a group of destination management companies (DMCs), operating in Thailand’s tourism industry. The standards cover six areas: Offices, staff, ground teams, meals, vehicles and transportation, sports equipment and facilities.

They are seeking certification under the umbrella of the “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration” (SHA) nation-wide certification programme for hotels and hospitality providers.

The programme extends to travel companies by setting out a
checklist of operational requirements for companies that are members of the
Thailand Hygiene Plus Initiative.

These members include Abercrombie & Kent Thailand, Asia
Exotica, Asian Trails, Black Rice Travel – A Member of LUXPERIA Collective,
Destination Asia (Thailand), EXO Travel Thailand, Focus Asia, Go Vacation
Thailand, Khiri Travel Thailand, Panorama Destination Thailand, Remote Lands,
Smiling Albino, Tour East and Travel Exclusive Asia Thailand.

“Working together on this initiative with our DMC colleagues in Thailand ensures that all travellers to Thailand can feel comfortable and safe in the knowledge that our teams and suppliers are all working under unified health and safety requirements,” says Abercrombie & Kent Southeast AsiaRegional Managing Director  Belinda Shillcock, who is based at Abercrombie & Kent’s Bangkok office.

“With Thailand as an example, we are looking to roll out
similar initiatives across A&K’s other offices and destinations across
Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Indonesia.”

The initiative will implement infection prevention measures to ensure travellers will have greater confidence in Thailand as a safe and healthy travel destination.

But for the time being, it is window dressing. No one is
booking tours. Thailand is off-limits.

The owner of a leading inbound tour company, who asked not to be named, told . the core facts impacting on inbound travel firms since late March.

“Believe me when I say that none of Bangkok’s travel firms has seen a single paying international tourist or customer since mid March to now (July) and if there is is no change in government policy they will not have any foreign tourists on their books until September at the very earliest.

“No one is spelling out the bare facts, he argued. ” Experts talk of travel bubbles, but we have gone six months without a single tourist… the prospects are dim as long as international flights are closed and quarantine rules apply. That’s a fact.

“Having clean buses adopting stringent health measures is all well and good, but it doesn’t change the fact that international tourists cannot visit Thailand and tour operators haven’t seen a client since March.”

Supporting that view, the Association of Thai Travel agents
stopped reporting monthly travel arrivals through its member companies back in
mid-March.