Published on : Thursday, February 25, 2021
Thailand may dissolve its two-week mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors who come with proof of Covid-19 vaccination as the Southeast Asian nation aims to resurrect its pandemic-hit tourism industry.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said that his government will consider allowing visitors who can produce a vaccination certificate for skipping quarantine and authorities will come up with a plan to keep a vigil on them during their stay in Thailand.
The plan to ease rules for tourists marks a shift in Thailand’s attitude after months of mandatory quarantine in the absence of enough evidence that inoculations can prevent virus transmission. This move could strengthen Thailand’s tourism sector that contributed about one-fifth to the nation’s economy before the pandemic hit.
Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, an economist at Kasikorn Research Center in Bangkok said, “If this goes ahead as planned, it will be a big boost to tourism and economy. There is still a very high uncertainty on the economic outlook this year, pending all the issues related to the outbreak from local infections, vaccine rollouts and border reopening plan.”
Thailand’s central bank has said that uncertain recovery in tourist arrivals is “a major risk” to the medium-term growth outlook. Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said that it would be very difficult for the economy to go back to pre-pandemic levels without tourism getting revived.
While Thailand has reopened its borders to maximum foreign visitors since October, strict quarantine rules have turned most tourists away. The local industry has been urging for relaxed quarantine rules to attract tourists from countries that have started vaccine rollouts like China, Singapore and the U.K.