Fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air from at least 10 countries will be allowed to visit Thailand without quarantine from 1st November according to a televised address by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today (11th October).
[Article updated 12th October 21].
Main picture Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, credit Vitalijis Barilo on Unsplash
The initial list of countries, to include the UK, U.S. China, Germany and Singapore, will be expanded from 1st December. A more extensive list is then planned from 1st January 2022.
“During the last weeks some of Thailand’s most important tourist source countries have begun to ease their travel restrictions on their citizens – countries like the UK, that now allow convenient travel to our country, as well as countries like Singapore and Australia that have started to ease travel restrictions on their citizens visiting other countries.
“With these developments, we must act quickly but still cautiously, and not miss the opportunity to entice some of the year-end and New Year holiday season travellers during the next few months to support the many millions of people who earn a living from our tourism, travel and entertainment sectors as well as the many other related sectors.”Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
The Prime Minister did however emphasise that if there was an “unexpected emergence of a highly dangerous new variant of the virus” the country would act in an appropriate manner.
The process for travellers to get permission to visit Thailand, including obtaining a Certificate of Entry (COE), arranging initial stays in approved hotels and paying for numerous PCR tests has been seen as a barrier to travel for many prospective tourists.
A simplified process has been called for by many in the tourism industry in Thailand for a number of weeks now and it seems that the government has heard those calls.
“I have, therefore, instructed the CCSA and the Ministry of Public Health to urgently consider within this week to allow, as of 1 November, international visitors to enter Thailand without any requirement for quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries.
“All that visitors will need do is to show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and do a test in Thailand, after which they will be free to move around Thailand in the same way that any Thai citizen can do.”Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
Currently fully vaccinated travellers must quarantine for 7 days on arrival, although those who travel to Sandbox areas can travel freely in their arrival area for those 7 days.
Quarantine arrangements will continue for those arriving by land or sea, those not fully vaccinated or from other countries.
It is not currently clear if the change will apply only to areas either already open to travellers through the Sandbox and those scheduled to join from November, or the whole of Thailand.
“I know this decision comes with some risk. It is almost certain that we will see a temporary rise in serious cases as we relax these restrictions.
“We will have to track the situation very carefully and see how to contain and live with that situation, because I do not think that the many millions who depend on the income generated by the travel, leisure and entertainment sector can possibly afford the devastating blow of a second lost new year holiday period.”Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
It has not just been quarantine and travel restrictions that have proved barries to attracting more tourists to Thailand since it started it reopening in July.
Rising cases of Covid-19 had led to the closure of many entertainment venues, the early closure of those allowed to open and the banning of alcohol sales in restaurants. Restrictions were especially strict in Bangkok and areas worst affected by the outbreak.
“By 1 December, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues under appropriate health precautions to support the revitalisation of the tourism and leisure sectors, especially as we approach the New Year period.”Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand
As Thailand heads towards its high season, there looks to be increasing glimmers of hope for the battered tourism industry and for those people looking to travel again to the “Land of Smiles.”
Source: Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
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