Thailand to resume quarantine-free tourism from February as Covid-19 eases

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After its suspension last month, Thailand will resume a quarantine-free visa programme for vaccinated travellers, which helped the tourism-dependent country contain a new wave of Covid-19 infections. After a meeting of Thailand’s key Covid-19 task force, Ms Rachada Dhnadirek, a government official, said on Twitter that international travellers can start applying for visas under Thailand’s Test & Go entrance scheme starting February 1.

Applicants of all nationalities will be allowed to enter without quarantine, but they will be required to do two Covid-19 tests, one upon arrival and the other on the fifth day, according to Ms Rachada. The government’s plan to lower entry obstacles for tourists is in line with its desire for Covid-19 to be declared an endemic this year and efforts to restore the tourism industry, which employs millions of people.

While new cases increased following the Christmas and New Year holidays in Thailand, they are still far below the peak seen during the Delta wave and have not yet overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system. Tourism-reliant Thailand has tried a number of strategies to resurrect the travel sector, which used to account for almost a fifth of the country’s GDP, with 40 million foreign visitors producing more than US$60 billion (S$81 billion) in 2019.

After its suspension last month, Thailand will resume a quarantine-free visa programme for vaccinated travellers, which helped the tourism-dependent country contain a new wave of Covid-19 infections. After a meeting of Thailand’s key Covid-19 task force, Ms Rachada Dhnadirek, a government official, said on Twitter that international travellers can start applying for visas under Thailand’s Test & Go entrance scheme starting February 1.

Applicants of all nationalities will be allowed to enter without quarantine, but they will be required to do two Covid-19 tests, one upon arrival and the other on the fifth day, according to Ms Rachada. The government’s plan to lower entry obstacles for tourists is in line with its desire for Covid-19 to be declared an endemic this year and efforts to restore the tourism industry, which employs millions of people.

While new cases increased following the Christmas and New Year holidays in Thailand, they are still far below the peak seen during the Delta wave and have not yet overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system. Tourism-reliant Thailand has tried a number of strategies to resurrect the travel sector, which used to account for almost a fifth of the country’s GDP, with 40 million foreign visitors producing more than US$60 billion (S$81 billion) in 2019.

Before it was discontinued, the Test & Go programme, which permitted vaccinated travellers from more than 60 countries to escape quarantine, helped attract roughly 350,000 tourists in just two months. SBefore it was discontinued, the Test & Go programme, which permitted vaccinated travellers from more than 60 countries to escape quarantine, helped attract roughly 350,000 tourists in just two months.