Thailand has just released a timeline for the complete removal of all their Covid-19 related entry restrictions.
The Southeast Asian traveler hot-spot – home to the world’s most visited city in Bangkok – has tried to kick-start its tourism sector several times throughout the pandemic, though the country still has a strict set of entry requirements that travelers have to follow in order to be able to visit.
However, the latest developments in their reopening saga suggest that such requirements could be on their way out in just a few months.
Whilst the prospect of having entry requirements eased is dependent on several factors, it’s still an exciting thought for travelers with thoughts of heading to the Land of Smiles this summer.
Here’s a look at the planned timeline of changes, what it will take to make sure they happen plus a recap of the entry methods available to travelers at present.
Entry Restrictions Easing Timeline – Information For Travelers
Ever since they first decided to tentatively reopen their borders during the pandemic, Thailand has been no stranger to tampering with its strict entry requirements in an effort to try and lure more travelers back to its shores. Its latest of many such changes came just a week ago, when the government removed the requirement for travelers to produce a negative PCR test result prior to their flight, a move that several countries have taken in recent months.
However, the country isn’t going to stop there. According to Thailand’s Sports and Tourism Ministry, more changes to the country’s entry requirements are in the pipeline – though they are contingent on the country keeping case levels low throughout next month’s Songkran festival. If cases are high – as the country’s Department of Disease Control predicts they will be – Thailand’s restrictions are set to be in place for even longer.
The festival – which celebrates Thailand’s New Year – is the largest holiday in the country, and is known around the world for its water splashing festivities. It is also a time when Thais travel back to their home provinces to celebrate with their families – potentially spreading the virus far and wide. Authorities have curbed water-related celebrations during the holiday for the last two years, whilst they have asked people to perform a Covid-19 test before taking part in celebrations this year.
If case levels around the country remain low following the holiday, the timeline for restriction changes will be as follows:
- May 1 – replacing the RT-PCR test on arrival with an antigen test kit (ATK) check conducted by a medical professional – a faster and cheaper method of testing
- June 1 – the cancellation of the Test and Go scheme and Thailand Pass, allowing travelers to be able to entry the country as per normal
Speaking about the timeline, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn appeared to be worried about the fact that several of Thailand’s neighbors have recently dropped their entry restrictions.
“Thailand started like a rabbit, running quickly last year as we reopened to visitors. We cannot let the country fall behind as many nations are opening borders and have fewer restrictions than us,” the minister said.
In order to enter Thailand at present, travelers need to apply for a Thailand Pass, a QR code that proves travelers have all the necessary requirements – such as Covid-19 vaccinations, health insurance, and a stay at a designated hotel – needed to enter the country.
Travelers can elect to enter through the Test and Go or the Sandbox scheme. More information about what it is like to visit Thailand at present can be found here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com