Further revelations have emerged about the much delayed arrival of the first group of Chinese tourists.
Some 120 Chinese were supposed to have been arriving in Phuket last Thursday until an eleventh hour reason – the Vegetarian Festival – was given for the delay by the head of Thailand’s security council.
The charter flight was virtually taxiing on the runway, it was claimed.
But now it has been revealed that the TAT had only supplied a list of names of those interested in coming to Thailand as part of the Special Tourist Visa (STV).
The onerous regulations that potential visitors must follow has led to the scheme being ridiculed online.
Foreign ministry spokesman Natthaphanu Noppakhun told the Thai media that NOT ONE Chinese person in Guangzhou had actually applied for an STV at the consulate there.
He said that everything was in place to process the visas had they done so.
Siam Rath reported in their headline that the foreign ministry was doing everything by the book following all the requirements laid out in the emergency decree still in place in Thailand.
Thaivisa notes that it appears in their gung-ho haste to make it appear that Chinese tourists were ready to come, the TAT appear to have overplayed their hand. Their list looks like just an expression of interest rather than a commitment to get all the paperwork and pay all the money for a visit to Thailand.
There is a mountain of paperwork and vast expense and many have said the scheme is a non-starter, even if it is just a test run for reopening the country.
Meanwhile Natthaphanu said that 22,000 CoE (Certificates of Entry) have been processed worldwide from those gathering paperwork to return to Thailand.
These include applications from work permit holders, teachers, students, spouses of Thai nationals, experts, the sick and businessmen.
He said that the process is now going online and being trialled in the UK, Netherlands and Hong Kong.
Thaivisa notes that the CoE is only one bit of the paperwork.