First published on BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55672347
Image from Getty Images via BBC
Visitors to Thailand will now be able to spend their quarantine playing golf, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Six resorts have been approved by the government for quarantine for foreign golfers with advance arrangements. Quarantining visitors will be able to move around the resorts and also play golf, rather than just isolate in their rooms.
Tourism is a major industry for Thailand and the country attracted 40 million tourists in 2019 who spent $63.4bn (£46bn).
The six resorts include three in Kanchanaburi, West of Bangkok, one in Nakhon Nayok, North of Bangkok, and one in Petchaburi, south of the Thai capital. There is also an approved resort in Chiang Mai, in the country’s north.
“Golf is a major draw in Thailand’s tourist offering with more than 250 golf courses disseminated all over the country,” said Benoit Badufle, a luxury tourism expert at Horus Development & Consulting.
“The open-air set up and private villas make the propagation of the Covid-19 less likely while attracting a high-contribution clientele.”
The TAT says it is a good time to play golf, because there are fewer players on the links, so it is now easier to book tee times.
Many theme parks and leisure facilities have needed to change their strategies to survive the travel downturn. In the US, California’s Disneyland theme park is set to become a massive Covid-19 vaccination site, it was announced on Monday.
Thailand has been attempting to re-open its borders to international tourism. One of the ways it has been doing this is by offering extended 90-day tourist visas, which can be renewed twice.
However, anyone entering Thailand must have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure as well as $100,000 worth of insurance that covers treatment of Covid-19.
The Southeast Asian country is currently grappling with a second wave of coronavirus infections after managing to largely contain community spread for months.
Thailand has had relatively few cases of Covid-19. So far there have been 11,262 cases with 69 deaths. But the country has recorded several hundred new cases a day since several clusters emerged in December.