China and Thailand are in talks to create a “quarantine free” bubble in the coming months. Thailand, who generates a large portion of its national income through tourism, is seeking to create a visitor friendly atmosphere for the nation with over one billion citizens. Thailand is seeking to develop an app that will allow the government to track where visitors to Thailand go, as well as to mitigate the trouble caused by the novel Coronavirus.
Thailand plans to develop this app so the government can have appropriate safety procedures in place and suppress any rapid development of Coronavirus cases. China, the nation where the Coronavirus originated, has recently been claiming a very low number of cases for its citizenry. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt, as the national government might be trying to save face in light of the global catastrophe originating in Wuhan early this year.
In any case, the new app (called Thailand Plus), will mirror a Chinese app that already exists and has a steady base of about 60,000 Thais. The only criticism of this new Chinese app is that it is fairly intrusive and asks for a lot of permissions. Furthermore, the reasoning for which is not explicitly outlined in its User Code.
If Thailand could achieve success with Thailand Plus, it could see a revitalization to its hurting travel agency. However, they will likely need to make adaptations and continuing improvements to not only support the amount of travelers they could have, but to encourage those who are going to travel to use the app. If the app and travel bubble succeed, travelers could hope to see an expansion of the bubble to include other Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia.
However, the safety concerns posed by such an app are likely the greatest risk. While Thailand is a democracy, China still remains the communist paragon of the east, and in recent years has been flexing their control over the digital space more and more. With so many individuals who could work in hacking and cybersecurity, China has become one of the top three digital world superpowers. Those wanting to travel either to China or Thailand and use these apps should take care that their personal information and privacy is protected before investing too much.