Thailand offers its lush golf courses as quarantine centres to woo tourists

The golf quarantine is the latest effort by the Thai authorities to woo foreign travellers.
The golf quarantine is the latest effort by the Thai authorities to woo foreign travellers.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Thailand is pitching half a dozen lush green golf courses as state quarantine centres to foreign tourists as the South-east Asian nation seeks to gradually reopen its tourism industry.

The government approved six golf resorts, including three in Kanchanaburi province, where patrons can enjoy the game and roam freely within the premises rather than confine themselves in their rooms during a two-week mandatory quarantine, Tourism Authority of Thailand said.

The golf quarantine is the latest effort by the Thai authorities to woo foreign travellers amid a new wave of Covid-19 infections after earlier offers of special long-stay visas evoked a lukewarm response.

The pandemic has devastated Thailand's tourism industry, which netted more than US$60 billion (S$80 billion in today's rates) in revenue from about 40 million visitors in 2019 and accounted for about a fifth of the nation's gross domestic product.

Prospective golf aficionados planning trips to Thailand will need visas, medical and travel insurance and a certificate of entry, according to a government announcement.

"Thailand remains a golfer's paradise even during the Covid-19 pandemic," the tourism authority said. "With fewer players on the links, it is now easier to book tee times, and the pace of play is much faster than ever with less wear and tear over the last year as well."

The approved resorts include a par-72 course in Mida Golf Club in Kanchanaburi and an 18-hole course at Artitaya Golf & Resort in Nakhon Nayok.