Once of the world’s most popular destinations for travelers on any budget, 2021’s Thailand now resembles a shadow of its former self. Shops that once sold trinkets and souvenirs are shuttered, beaches are empty, and hotels once at maximum capacity are instead closed.
However, news coming from the Land of Smiles today brings hope for travelers who long to return to its shores. Thailand has announced that it will cut its mandatory quarantine time, whilst it was also revealed that the country supports the development of a vaccine passport. Here’s more about these big decisions.
Thailand To Slash Quarantine Time – Information for Travelers
Access into Thailand has been possible for a while, following the creation of the Special Tourist Visa which allows travelers from any nation to enter the country for 90 days, with the option of extending it further upon arrival. Whilst this is the case, the need to quarantine upon arrival for two weeks has long since been a costly barrier to widespread tourism in the country.
Those visiting Thailand must quarantine for 14 days, during which they will be tested several times, and stays in basic facilities for the duration have been found to cost upwards of $1000. However, it was today announced that the period of quarantine was to be cut from 14 days to 7 days for most vaccinated travelers.
Speaking this afternoon, Thailand’s Health Minister Anutin Charnvirankul announced the news in the hope that it would lead to an increase in the number of tourists heading to the country, which would go some way towards reviving the economy.
The change in quarantine time applies to foreign travelers who have been vaccinated in the past three months. They will still need to arrive with a negative Covid-19 test result. Travelers who have not been inoculated but arrive with a negative test result will see their quarantine period cut down to just 10 days. This change does not apply to travelers coming from Africa; due to concerns about virus strains, travelers coming from Africa must quarantine for the full two week period.
Another change to quarantines now being planned is the ability for travelers to quarantine within the hotel rather than within the room which will allow tourists to enjoy facilities such as the pool. The first three days would have to be spent in the hotel room but once a guest tests negative after the first 72 hours, they will be able to use the entire hotel property including amenities.
Vaccine Passports Closer
As vaccine passports start to become acknowledged as a safe way to travel in Europe, Thailand too is getting in on the action. A panel of government officials has backed the idea, meaning that Thailand is taking a step closer to fully opening its borders for tourists.
Tourism made up a fifth of Thailand’s GDP prior to the pandemic, with the spread of Covid-19 forcing thousands of Thais out of work. President of the Thai Airlines Association Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth stated that “The quarantine waiver remains the best way to support the travel industry,” whilst it may also be the safest way to gradually allow travelers back into the country.
How To Visit Thailand – What Travelers Should Know
Travelers who live in a country that has a visa exemption or visa on arrival arrangement with Thailand do not need to obtain a visa prior to travel, but must still obtain a certificate of entry. Those from nations without such an arrangement can apply for a Special Tourist Visa, which is open to travelers from all nations. Travelers need insurance that covers Covid-19 up to $100,000, and must also obtain a negative test result within three days of traveling. The existing quarantine period is 14 days, though the changes listed above will come into effect next month. Masks are widely worn both outdoors and indoors, and the wearing of one is mandatory to enter places such as conveniences stores and shopping malls.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com