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Thailand eases curbs on travel to boost tourism

Thailand eases curbs on travel to boost tourism

THAILAND: The government is easing travel restrictions for citizens from 56 countries to boost the country’s pandemic-hit tourism industry, though visitors will be required to undergo a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine.

CoronavirusCOVID-19tourism
By Bangkok Post

Friday 18 December 2020, 09:14AM


Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province in October. Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb.

Chinese tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province in October. Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb.

Tourists from countries including Australia, France and the United States can travel without visas, but would need a certificate to show they are free of COVID-19 72 hours before travel and a booking at a quarantine hotel, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said.

Visitors would then be subject to a two-week quarantine period after arriving, he said, adding the normal 30-day visa would be extended to 45 days.

While in quarantine, arrivals would undergo three COVID-19 tests, up from two required previously, Dr Taweesilp said, adding that more testing could potentially lead to shorter quarantine periods in the future.

The revisions come as the tourism-reliant economy struggles to encourage more domestic activity, but an ongoing travel ban continues to keep most foreign tourists away.

Earlier, each arrival was tested twice during 14-day quarantine, first three to five days days after arrival, and then again on days 11-13.

Each arrival is now tested three times, on day 0-1, day 9-10 and day 13-14, Dr Taweesilp said.

The changed testing process would continue until Dec 31. Health officials would then study the results and assess whether quarantine could be reduced to 10 days, Dr Taweesilp said.

The assessment will begin on Jan 1 and is expected to be finalised by Jan 15, he said.

A shorter quarantine is aimed at attracting foreign tourists, he added.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul previously said the scheme would be for visitors from low-risk countries.

Asked about Christmas and New Year celebrations, Dr Taweesilp said the CCSA was in favour of festivities going ahead and not being banned, as in many Western countries.

However, organisers and attendees must follow disease control measures strictly, he said.

He also said the government was ready to consider companies’ disease control measures to allow visiting employees to work during quarantine.

“The entry of tourists will stimulate the economy,” Tanee Sangrat, spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said.

Travellers from other countries not included in yesterday’s (Dec 17) announcement could still be eligible for a 90-day special tourist visa and a certificate of entry.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that local authorities can order the cancellation of any New Year festivities that fail to follow disease control measures.

“Strict measures must be in place while people enjoy themselves during the New Year celebrations. I don’t want people to suffer from COVID-19 after New Year. Everyone must cooperate for the sake of the country’s safety,” he said.

Mr Anutin said yesterday that activities that draw large crowds need approval from the authorities.

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cyberspider | 20 December 2020 - 01:14:10

@Emp: vaccine is useless in this regard. It protects you from getting severe covid infection, you may have no symptoms, but it doesnt stop virus from spreading . it just reduces the possibility, but cant be ruled out. Even vaccinated people can carry and spread virus, vaccine is only partial protection for person who received the vaccine.

Emp2770 | 18 December 2020 - 17:23:59

And in 4 weeks I will get the vaccination - so maybe Thailand should review their rules as to people, that has been vaccinated.  

Emp2770 | 18 December 2020 - 17:16:40

Sorry, butI have to pass. To have to stay 14 days confined to a hotel before being able to move freely, is not my kind of visit. Chinese tourist are maybe happy with this, but I don't think e.g. europeans will be attracted to this "offer".

It is possible to travel to other countries around the world without these very stricts corona rules, so will pass on Thailand and go else wher...

martinwalker44 | 18 December 2020 - 14:16:28

can i come from the UK 
i want to see my girlfriend

Kurt | 18 December 2020 - 14:01:28

While whole world fights Covid-19, countries in partial/complete lock down, shortness of ICU beds, turned inward Thailand mourning, whining  about not having foreign tourists. Is Thailand located on planet Earth? Where is her international compassion/understanding in all this? Just talking about tourism. Heartless money thinking. 'New Normal' means to keep up your own pants.

Foot | 18 December 2020 - 13:04:24

@Sir Burr.  You are correct.  The folks who issue these statements have no real idea as to what to do.  But, they feel they must do something to protect they jobs and incomes by making it appear they are actually capable.
In a few weeks, there will be another grand announcement made that is equally silly.

CaptainJack69 | 18 December 2020 - 12:46:57

Again they're making a show of trying, but it was never the lack of visa-free entry that was preventing people from coming. The quarantine is bad enough, but throw in the ridiculous prices that these hotels seem to be able to arbitrarily set without any kind of oversight and you might as well ban all international arrivals (again).

CaptainJack69 | 18 December 2020 - 12:40:56

Several countries have already introduced vaccines and are in the process of vaccinating their populations. Yet still there's no word at all from the Thai government on how they will handle it. Will vaccinated people be allowed to enter or will it just be ignored? Will Thai tourism have to wait for a Thai vaccine?

Kurt | 18 December 2020 - 11:27:00

Thailand is behaving in thinking and doing as it is the centerpoint of the world in the Covid-19 Pandemic. Wrong, it is just a very side player as international tourism is something more and more less affordable to foreigners, now and coming years. So much personal losses, grieves, and financials losses to overcome abroad.

Sir Burr | 18 December 2020 - 10:40:26

They either don't get it, or, do get it but, want to suppress it.
There will be NO foreign tourists if there is a quarantine. Especially if that quarantine enables hotels to charge exorbitant prices. 

Kurt | 18 December 2020 - 10:07:02

USA and France are among very high risk countries now, as most European countries are. The world is becoming more strict/limited in international traveling, and Thailand goes thinking and handling the opposite way with easing travel restrictions ?

 

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