In the past decade, Thailand has always been one of the top tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. During normal times, Thailand had welcomed foreign visitors from all around the world, up to nearly 40 million foreign arrivals in 2019. Overall, the tourism industry usually accounted for approximately 11% of the local GDP.
With COVID-19, the once buzzling tourist destinations such as: Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket are now deserted, this effect has been felt across the country. As an effort to revive COVID-19 struck tourism industry, the Thai authorities has introduced a program called Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (“SHA”).
What is SHA?
Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration or SHA is a program spearheaded by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). The main objective of SHA is to elevate the health and safety standard of the local tourism business owners/operators, as well as, ensure confidence for visitors in the time of ‘New Normal’ by encouraging local businesses to put in place COVID-19 spread prevention measure and awarding them the SHA. SHA is applicable to the tourism related sectors, which are:
- Hotels and convention centres;
- Tourist attraction spots;
- Transport providers;
- Travel agencies;
- Spas and beauty salons;
- Shopping centres and shopping malls;
- Sport participation travels;
- Souvenir shops and the like.
To obtain SHA certification, business owners and operators must ensure that their business places have adopted proper health monitoring and preventive measures. Each sector has different criteria that must be satisfied in order to be awarded with SHA logo. For Instance, hotels are required to minimize point-of-entry, set up health monitoring station (i.e. temperature check) and keep an orderly record of all staff and visitors.
Those who meet the criteria as stipulated by TAT and MOPH may apply for SHA. If approved, businesses will be awarded with SHA logo (see Fig. 1). Moreover, relevant authorities may also conduct post-audit as necessary, and withdraw SHA logo if the business fails to maintain the stipulated criteria.
How to apply?
Business owners and operators may apply SHA for free, this can be done via a direct TAT application or via an online website (SHA Website). Those who are successfully awarded with SHA certification will also be officially listed in the TAT’s database.
Fig. 1 – SHA logo that can be used to display that the business had passed the required criteria.
COVID-19 is merely one of the many challenges that we will face in this ever-changing world. Despite all the negative effects contributed by COVID-19, it also compelled positive changes as a whole. Overall, business owners/operators are encouraged to join the SHA program and adapt to the New Normal as a mean to revive the slumbering tourism industry.