Things are looking up. Officials in Thailand announced on Thursday that the country plans to reopen the capital city of Bangkok and other popular tourist destinations starting next month. The announcement comes following studies which show that Covid infections may have peaked in the country, following record-breaking cases this past summer.
The lifting of restrictions for international travelers throughout different parts of Thailand are in hopes to boost tourism after over a year of a struggling industry.
Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai Among Destinations To Reopen
The reopening of a number of destinations in the Kingdom of Thailand will follow the plan of the Phuket Sandbox program, which has been underway since July. The new destinations which are set to reopen include Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya and the northern city of Chiang Mai.
Please note that this is still a partial reopening of the Kingdom. As said to Reuters news by the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn, this reopening will be starting with areas popular with visitors. The minister also mentioned that the country has a target to reach 1 million visitors by the end of the year.
What Are The New Health Restrictions To Travel To Thailand?
Under the new travel guidance for October, all visitors to Thailand must provide proof of full inoculation against Covid, with the last dose given at least two weeks prior to travel. Approved vaccines for travel are the WHOs list of approved vaccinations, which are: Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac.
Visitors must also provide a negative Covid PCR test result taken no later than 72 hours before travel, and will be given another PCR test upon landing.
Travelers must then go directly to their SHA-plus approved hotel in the destination to wait for the results. Once a negative test result comes in, you’re cleared for travel. Travel health insurance must also be purchased for the trip, with coverage of at least 100,000 USD in case of emergencies.
Phuket Sandbox Initiative Helping Tourism
Starting July 1st, the country began the Phuket Sandbox Program which has proven to boost tourism in parts of the southern Thai islands. The destinations of Phuket and Koh Samui opened to vaccinated tourists, following testing guidance and hotel stay.
The program expanded last month, with more islands in the region welcoming tourists. Under the updated guidance released in August, travelers can travel to specific destinations nearby after 7 days in Phuket and two negative test results – one from pre-departure and another taken on arrival.
The expanded sandbox program destinations include: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai and Railay in Krabi. Khao Lak and Koh Yao in Phang-Nga, and the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Travel must be done through approved modes of transportation.
Announcement Follows Postponed Reopening In June
Thailand was scheduled to welcome foreign tourists without quarantine restrictions in early June 2021, but the reopening was postponed following a surge in Covid cases throughout the Kingdom.
Since 2020, Thailand hasn’t officially closed to international visitors, but heavy travel restrictions have been enforced. Any international traveler arriving to the Kingdom must quarantine at a government-approved hotel for two weeks and undergo Covid testing. These restrictions had a big effect on mass tourism.
U.S. Restrictions For Thailand
In August, the U.S. added Thailand to its Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory, along with the nations of France and Iceland. The advisory was made due to the high reported cases of Covid.
At this time, foreign nationals from Thailand are not allowed to visit the United States for non-essential reasons.