Thailand is trying hard to attract back tourist and rebuild its shattered tourism industry. Whilst they have made several attempts to open safely, the requirements have failed to motivate travellers to rediscover this jewel of Southeast Asia, the 14 days required quarantine has been the major obstacle and those sentiments will soon be answered.
Thailand is reducing the quarantine period for all visitors and reducing things even further for those who have been vaccinated and can prove it. It is the good news many have been waiting for, but it does not go quite as far as some other nations, at least for now. Here is what to expect as Thailand opens to wider tourism.
If you have not been vaccinated, you will still need to spend 10 days in a managed hotel quarantine when entering Thailand from next month, but even that will improve. If you have been vaccinated, a 7-day quarantine will apply. This all kicks in from April 2021.
Perhaps most importantly, efforts and appeals are being made to allow travellers to test out of their room quarantines after day 3, so that they may at least enjoy resort facilities at hotels that fall into key tourism zones, such as Phuket or Krabi. This would allow travellers to enjoy amenities such as pools and al fresco restaurants, rather than staying confined in a room.
To count as a ‘vaccinated traveller’, visitors must have received both shots and also be able to provide a negative covid-19 test within 3 days of departure for Thailand. A date restriction specifying vaccination within the last 3 months is also required, which could catch out to some potential visitors.
Unfortunately, visitors from Africa are not eligible to take advantage of the reduced quarantine periods, vaccinated or not.
Perhaps the best news comes in the form of long-term travel planning. According to Reuters, Thai Health Ministers indicate that as vaccinations in the country ramp up, and key metrics are hit, removal of all travel restrictions by October is likely. For many travellers, this will be a key date to aim for, with fewer hoops.
Thailand’s near term plans to reduce restrictions for vaccinated travellers don’t go nearly as far as other countries which have removed all quarantine measures entirely for vaccinated travellers, but indicating a complete removal of restrictions by October creates great promise for a revival of tourism in 2021.
Tourism accounts for circa 20% of Thailand’s GDP, while supplying millions of jobs, with many feeling the strain. November to April is often seen as the best time of year to visit Thailand, depending on which side of the Andaman you plan to venture off to, and that means the end of year trips could be a green light.
By Joe Cusmano