It’s time to Let Go rather than retain Test and Go!

William Heinecke is still lobbying for immigration relaxation.

Several hundred delegates to a Thailand Tourism Forum assembly have urged the government to abolish the Test and Go entry requirements or risk a collapse in the international tourist market. Marisa Sukosol, president of the Hotels Association, said it was time to Let Go and get rid of pointless restrictions such as a compulsory PCR test in a prebooked hotel on arrival.

William Heinecke, founder and chairman of the global operator Minor International who has personally lobbied the Thai prime minister, pointed to the relaxed policies now in force in competitor countries. For example, entrants to Cambodia need only a pre-departure PCR test and a quick ATK test on arrival at Phnom Penh airport. Insurance there is recommended but is not compulsory.

The Thai health ministry is reluctant to liberalize entry procedures in the face of rising numbers of publicly-detected Covid numbers. However, most cases now appear to be much milder than earlier variants and rarely require significant hospitalization. The Thai government is also known to be concerned about the collapse in tourism from Russia and Ukraine because of the Putin-inspired invasion.

The tourist consensus in Pattaya is that the city’s night life is semi-back to normal. Many clubs have reopened as “restaurants” and some even risk go-go dancers or on-stage cabarets even though these are technically illegal. Compulsory Covid testing of customers and staff is mostly ignored. However, the 11 pm closing time is observed in the main districts where police interest remains a possibility. British tourist Sam Hayes said, “It’s all a question of knowing where to go.”