Thailand has previously set out a number of plans for the reopening of the country, without the requirement of a mandatory quarantine period for vaccinated travellers.
Main picture James Bond Island, Phang Nga, Thailand, credit Diego Munoz Suarez on Unsplash
The most recent “masterplan” led with the Phuket Sandbox starting on 1st July, followed by 10 other provinces in October and then the whole country from the start of 2022.
Yesterday, out of the blue, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, announced that the country will be fully reopened within 120 days, with all businesses able to resume normal operations and visitors free to travel across the country.
So in theory, and if all goes to plan, 21st October is the magic date for Thailand tourism.
The Prime Minister however did admit that the plan was not risk-free but that it would be a calculated risk that would have a significant positive economic impact.
“When we take into consideration the economic needs of people, the time has now come for us to take that calculated risk.”
“We cannot wait for a time when everyone is fully vaccinated with two shots, or for when the world is free of the virus, to reopen the country.”Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
The mid-October target is dependent on meeting the ambitious target of around 50 million people receiving at least their first Covid-19 inoculation.
To date just 1.8 million are fully vaccinated and around 5 million have received their first shot. That leaves 45 million that need to be vaccinated between now and 21st October.
Thailand has agreements in place with a number of vaccine producers to receive 105.5 million doses by the end of the year but have been suffering supply problems and it is not clear if doses will arrive in time to be administered to allow the October opening.
The Prime Minister did say that that the vaccination goal was achieveable if there are enough vaccines.
The announcement comes at at time when Thailand continues to fight against its worst Covid outbreak since the pandemic began. The country announced a further 3,129 cases and 30 deaths today. There have now been 207,724 cases and 1,555 deaths in Thailand since the pandemic began.
Our series the Future of Travel looks at a number of factors affecting the travel and tourism industry including sustainable travel.
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