Chairman of Minor International, William Heinecke, has called upon the government of Thailand to relax all entry measures as soon as possible to boost inbound tourism.
In an open letter, he wrote: “Despite the cancellation of pre-arrival Covid-19 testing, the visitors to Thailand are still required to complete an unnecessary series of steps, including pre-booking RT-PCR tests, prepaid one-night hotel accommodations, mandatory health insurance, and more in order to secure a visa and/or Thailand Pass.
Visitors must go through too many requirements before arriving in Thailand compared to many other countries that are now completely open, including nearby Cambodia.”
Heinecke noted that many countries which relied on international tourism, such as Singapore, had already revoked complicated entry measures to boost the recovery of domestic tourism and their economies.
He advised the Prime Minister to scrap the country’s entry measures, including the ‘Thailand Pass’ and the ‘Test & Go’ programme, stating that only a vaccination certificate and/or medical documents to prove the vaccination should be sufficient.
The statement also highlighted the importance of cooperation between government and private sectors which would help revive the tourism industry and stimulate the economy after the financial hardship of two years of border restrictions, business closures, curfews, and more due to Covid-19 in Thailand.
“(Government and private sectors’) efforts, together with concrete and straightforward communication regarding entry requirements, are crucial for the success of tourism in Thailand,” he added.
William Heinecke was born in the US and came to Thailand as a child and started his first business before he turned 18, hence naming his company Minor. A Thai citizen since 1991, his Minor International has more than 520 hotels and resorts, including the Anantara brand, as well as nearly 2,400 restaurants and 470 retail stores, spread across more than 50 countries.
He tripled the size of his hotel portfolio by acquiring Spain’s NH Hotels for $2.6 billion in 2018, the year of Minor’s golden anniversary.
He is also the recipient of World Travel Awards ‘Asia’s Leading Travel Personality’.