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Hotel magnate frustrated by tight control of Covid vaccines offered to tourists

PHOTO: Business Jet Travellers

Prominent hotel mogul William “Bill” Heinecke has expressed disappointment at the Thai government’s ongoing policy of holding tight to the reins of Covid vaccine distribution. Heinecke was responding to the government’s announcement that it plans to create vaccination centres in each province in order to offer Covid vaccines to both tourists and residents.

For Thai nationals and resident expats, the vaccines will continue to be made available free of charge, whereas tourists will have to pay. However, Mr Heinecke points out that many tourists don’t want to visit public hospitals or clinics and would rather go to a private hospital.

Thailand’s health ministry recently announced a pilot vaccination project to offer Covid vaccines to tourists in popular provinces. The project gets underway this month but the vaccines will only be available at public hospitals and other government-run healthcare facilities. The private sector has not been given approval to participate.

Bill Heinecke, who is chairman and founder of the Minor International hospitality group, has praised Thailand’s re-opening of its borders but described the government’s handling of vaccine distribution as “disappointing”.

Mr. Heinecke has been a prolific writer of open letters to Thailand’s PM, firstly demanding Thailand close its borders and then later being one of the first to demand the border restrictions be removed.

In other news, the Bangkok Post reports that Mr. Heinecke has confirmed that as the pandemic abates, the Minor group will turn its attention to growth and expanding its portfolio. He is hopeful that Thailand’s upcoming general election will pass off without incident and the economy can continue to recover

“Hopefully the general election this year will be handled smoothly and the Thai recovery will continue with the government’s support.”

According to Heinecke, despite the absence of Chinese tourists up to now, the tourism sector bounced back strongly during the New Year and Chinese New Year holidays. He credits a diverse range of nationalities for the revival, pointing out the importance of not overly relying on one market or nationality.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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