Because of a slower than expected vaccination rollout, Thailand is considering delaying reopening many of its major tourist destinations in October.
Reports from Thailand suggest that the Thai government will delay the reopening of five provinces as each province’s vaccination rate still lags behind the 70 percent coverage required to open up next month.
The Proposed Reopening
Thanet Phetsuwan, the deputy director for communications and marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) stated Thailand may delay reopening the following provinces until November 1st:
- Chiang Mai
- Chon Buri
- The City of Bangkok
- Prachuap Khiri Khan
Instead, it’s likely that Chiang Mai will focus on domestic tourism for the time being. Thailand is looking to reopen Chiang Mai to international visitors ASAP.
Nevertheless, the government has already delayed the reopening by one month, and it appears they will extend the “Charming Chaing Mai” scheme by another month until November 1st.
Thanet Phetsuwan said international airlines are ready to fly directly into Chiang Mai once there is enough demand and vaccination rates are above 70 percent. Although he also said, “We cannot expect an influx of demand here as the current gateway is Phuket.”
The government is still preparing to reopen to domestic tourists on October 1st. So if travelers are already in Thailand, there’s a possibility they could travel to northern Thailand next month.
The Thai authorities were due to reopen Bangkok for tourism on October 1st, but last week they delayed it until October 15th. The proposed delay was because most Bangkok residents are still awaiting their second vaccination.
However, local authorities believe they will have administered COVID-19 vaccines to 70 percent of their residents by mid-October. Yet reports suggest that Bangkok may not reopen until Novemebr 1st.
Furthermore, Pattaya is set to reopen on October 1st according to reports. The Mayor of Pattaya suggests they are ready to open the “Pattaya Move On Sandbox Scheme” to international visitors on October 1st.
However, this contradicts Thanet Phetsuwan belief that Chon Buri will delay its reopening until November 1st. This all proves how uncertain Thailand’s reopening is right now.
There’s a lot of mixed messages and uncertainty, which is stopping many people from traveling to Thailand at the moment.
The COVID-19 Situation In Thailand
Thailand controlled COVID-19 throughout the vast majority of 2020. However, the Delta variant entered Thailand in April 2020 and cases spiraled.
The 7-day average in August was above 20,000 per day, but cases have now dropped to around a 7-day weekly average of 10,000 cases. Currently, Thailand appears to have got COVID-19 under control.
Thailand has increased its vaccination rollout since May 2020. Today, the nation has fully vaccinated 21.5 percent of their population. In addition, Thailand has given one dose to 41.7 percent of its population.
Thailand’s Reopening So Far
On July 1st, Thailand started the Phuket Sandbox Program. The scheme has helped reopen some of the southern islands for local tourism.
The Thai government expanded the program last month, adding the following destinations to the sandbox scheme: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay in Krabi; Khao Lak and Koh Yao in Phang-Nga; and Surat Thani’s three main islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao.
The Current Entry Requirements
Under Thailand’s government guidance for October, all visitors must provide evidence of full vaccination. Travelers must have received their second vaccination dose at least 14 days before entering Thailand.
Thailand accepts WHO-approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac. Visitors will also need to provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival in Thailand. Once travelers arrive, they will have another PCR test on arrival.
Then, travelers will need to head straight to a SHA-plus approved hotel and wait for the PCR test result. Travelers will also need travel health insurance with coverage of at least 100,000 USD.
Thailand’s reopening is complicated, and there are different restrictions throughout the country.
Stay tuned for more news on Thailand’s reopening in the coming weeks as the country seeks to bring back international visitors.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com