BANGKOK — A survey found that Thais are cautiously leaning towards reopening borders for tourists as the coronavirus pandemic appears to be winding down.
According to a survey by UK-based market research company YouGov, three in five subject interviews (63 percent) want the border to reopen after 3 months of ban on most international flights to Thailand.
Of all interviewees, a fourth (26 percent) said that the border should reopen in the next three months. A remaining quarter (26 percent) answered that the border should reopen within the next six months to a year, while one in ten (11 percent) said that the border should remain closed until after a year.
Yada Pornpetrumpa, president of the Khaosan Road Vendors Association, says the livelihood of her and vendors at the popular tourist spot depend on borders reopening to tourists.
“At Khaosan, 90 percent of the income is from tourists. If there’s no tourists, then there’s no income,” she said. “If tourists can’t come in, we vendors can prepare to go out of business.”
Yada said that while some eateries have already reopened on the popular backpacking spot, more restaurants are expected to open as Thailand enters July – but many hostels and hotels are still closed indefinitely since they rely on foreign tourists, she said.
To reboot the devastated tourism economy, the Thai government is pushing for a travel bubble agreement that will allow entry to tourists from countries where the coronavirus is supposedly under control.
“I agree with the travel bubble,” Yada said. “My friends overseas say they’re willing to go into quarantine so that they can come here and use Thai healthcare.”
But several trade guilds advised caution, saying that foreign tourists could possibly trigger a second wave of virus outbreak, as seen in China recently.
Of the Thais surveyed by YouGov, only three in ten (28 percent) agreed with opening borders to certain countries, as more than half (54 percent) disagreed and the rest (17 percent) were undecided.
The poll was conducted between June 22 to 24 on 2,069 Thai respondents for compensation. The interviews were selected by age, gender, income group, and education in order to be representative. It has a margin of error of 3 percent.