January 19, 2021

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Thailand leverages tech to expand Alternative State Quarantine

Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Department of Health Service Support (HSS) recently announced that they will leverage the cutting-edge digital technologies of an online travel agency and metasearch engine to further improve accessibility and efficiency for the booking processes of Alternative States Quarantine (ASQ) packages for Thai repatriates and in-bound travellers during COVID-19. This collaboration makes Thailand one of the first countries in the world to digitalize the booking process.

Returning Thais and inbound travellers will be able to search for and book MOPH-approved ASQ properties via a dedicated booking platform that allows travellers to search availability, room type, and pricing in real-time. Quarantine hotel package bookings are required as part of the process to obtain approval from the local Thai embassies to enter Thailand.

The automation of the booking process benefits both the participating hoteliers and travellers by simplifying the search and booking process on one easily accessible platform. It allows MOPH and HSS to focus their efforts on maintaining health and safety standard protocols for participating in ASQ properties. Initially, the listed ASQ properties on the platform include those in Bangkok, Chonburi, and Phuket.

The Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support stated that Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) is an important mechanism that aims to benefit Thailand in two ways. The first factor is in the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19, and the second is as a stimulus to help drive the economy by generating income for entrepreneurs.

For these hotel entrepreneurs to be part of the ASQ program, however, they must pass strict standard checks in six categories from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Defense. These include safety protocols that ensure on-site personnel fully equipped with medical supplies and training, processes that minimise disruption to the wider community and have an environmental management system to protect and control guests, and thus prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Alongside these requirements are is the professionalism of the country’s hospitals to support foreign travellers and Thai’s repatriating. ASQ helps to promote the country’s economy with the 113 hotels participating as ASQ properties generating THB1.2 billion revenue for Thailand to date. ASQ facilities, which allow flexibility to choose where to stay for quarantine, can be one way to attract foreign tourists again from all over the world and generate income for the country.

The online travel agency has a team of over 1,000 tech engineers in Bangkok working around the clock on cutting-edge solutions for customers, businesses, and governments across the globe. The digital booking platform for ASQ is now live, with more technology partners expected to join the program in the coming months.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thai Ministry of Public Health has required that any Thai or foreign nationals travelling to Thailand must secure a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative result, COVID-19 health insurance and they must undergo a mandatory quarantine at Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities.

The mandatory quarantine is required for foreigners permitted to enter Thailand such as diplomats and non-immigrant B visa with work permit holders including their families, business representatives and experts invited by the government, permanent residents, foreigners with Thai families such as Thai marriage visa holders, students and their guardians, medical tourists and their attendants, business visa holders, Thai Elite Visa holders, APEC Cardholders, special tourist visa (STV) holders, SETV tourist visa holders, non-immigrant O, OA and OX retirement visa holders and migrant workers with official documents.