Thailand eases COVID entry restrictions to woo tourists’ return

Thailand is relaxing entry conditions in a bid to jumpstart its hard-hit tourism industry.

Thailand is relaxing entry conditions in a bid to jumpstart its hard-hit tourism industry. Photo: Getty

In a bid to revive its hard-hit tourist industry, Thailand will shortly abandon its insistence that visitors vaccinated for COVID-19 be tested and spend a short spell in quarantine.

Instead, visitors will be encouraged to perform rapid antigen self-tests during their stay, instead of the current Test & Go scheme, where arrivals must isolate in a hotel while awaiting the result of a PCR test on arrival.

The new measure follows the removal last month of a pre-departure test requirement.

“Adjusting measures has an impact on drawing in tourism receipts,” Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the coronavirus taskforce, told a news conference.

Tourist dollars vital

Tourism is a crucial driver of the economy in Thailand, one of Asia’s most popular holiday destinations, representing about 12 per cent of gross domestic product before the pandemic.

Although Thailand is seeing a pickup in tourism, numbers are still down sharply from that level, with 210,800 arrivals in March – up from 6700 in the same period last year, but still far short of the monthly average of 3.3 million in 2019.

Still required for visitors, however, is online travel clearance for which proof of vaccination and insurance must be presented.

The Thailand Pass has long been a source of frustration over the time taken to be granted approval.

Other rules eased on Friday include reducing the required insurance coverage to $US10,000 ($A13,700) and granting entry to unvaccinated visitors, providing they show a negative pre-departure PCR result.


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