HONG KONG and Thailand officials are ready to start talks on creating a travel bubble between the two destinations with both sides having shown success in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Negotiations over the next few days are expected to form a bilateral agreement between Bangkok and Hong Kong in July covering tourism, say officials.
According to reports, a small number of short-term business travellers will be allowed into Thailand from five jurisdictions, including Hong Kong beginning July 1.
The proposals emerged during a webinar jointly organised the Thailand Board of Investment and Hong Kong government officials on June 29.
“There will be special arrangements done through bilateral agreements and travel bubbles which will involve four countries and one territory form short-term business visitors,” Natapanu Nopakun, of the Thai foreign ministry, told the South China Morning Post in a separate briefing.
The short-term business travellers being allowed into Thailand are understood to be from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
Hong Kong commerce minister Edward Yau, who was at the webinar, was quoted as saying the prospect of a travel bubble was “very encouraging news for both Hong Kong and Thailand”.
“If the special relaxation arrangements for cross-border control can be established between the two places, cross-boundary business exchange can be gradually resumed for Hong Kong, which is set to give a tremendous boost to our economic recovery,” he told the Post.
Plans are already being discussed to form a travel bubble with between Hong Kong, Macau and neighbouring Guangdong province. However, the Hong Kong government has nonetheless extended the compulsory 14-day quarantine for visitors from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan an additional month to August 7.
World Rugby has also cancelled this year’s Hong Kong Sevens, which had been rescheduled to October. The event is now being planned for April 2021.