PHOTO: Bangkok, Thailand cityscape. (photo courtesy of thitivong/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Thailand has taken a key step in welcoming back travelers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a new safety certification program that will identify businesses, including restaurants, hotels and travel agents, that meet all appropriate COVID-19 hygiene and quality controls upon inspection.

The Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Certification Program was announced by a handful of the country’s top officials on Tuesday, including Phiphat Ratchakitprakan, Minister of Tourism and Sports; Chote Trachu, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports; Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn, Director-General, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health and Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand during a recent press conference in Bangkok.

SHA eligible businesses include restaurants; hotels and accommodation providers; convention centers; recreation and tourist attractions; tourist transport vehicle providers; travel agents; tour operators; health spas and beauty parlors; department stores and shopping centers; sports stadiums for tourism; theaters and souvenir shops and other retailers.

After meeting all necessary hygiene and quality controls following a rigorous inspection, approved businesses will display the SHA logo to reassure travelers.

Certification will be granted for two years pending any violations.

“Ensuring high health and safety standards will be one of the key criteria for Thai tourism to establish its competitive advantage in the recovery period. The desire to travel will remain strong, but when it actually comes to the decision-making time, visitors will opt for those destinations where they feel confident about their personal safety,” said Supasorn, in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s announcement.

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.