Thailand reopens borders to tourists from 60 nations

Published on : Monday, November 1, 2021


Tens of thousands of travellers are expected to arrive in Thailand as the country officially reopened to tourists after 18 months of Covid restrictions. Vaccinated tourists from more than 60 “low-risk” nations are allowed to enter the country and avoid hotel quarantine.

Tourist numbers are forecast to jump to as much as 15 million next year, bringing in more than $30bn (£22bn). However, much of country is still under restrictions with only around 42% of the population fully-vaccinated.

The latest decision came at a time when Thailand is still registering almost 10,000 Covid infections a day. The coronavirus pandemic battered Thailand’s economy, which would previously attract 40 million tourists a year. Last year, tourist arrivals were down more than 80%.

Airports serving Bangkok and Phuket are among those opening to countries including UK, China, Japan, the US and most of Europe. The Thai government predicts revenues to rebound to their pre-pandemic levels by 2023, although many industry experts say China’s ongoing border closures will hamper the sector’s recovery.

Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists made up the biggest number of tourists, with some 12 million visitors arriving from China in 2019. Thai authorities have given a much-needed relief to its tourism-reliant industry with the latest announcement.

The country is hoping to capitalise on travellers escaping the winter blues during December, with several European countries, the United States and China on the approved list. Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said in a statement that the most important thing that the government is thinking right now is to make people’s livelihoods return to normal.

Tourism accounts for nearly a fifth of the economy and the impact of the pandemic has reverberated across various sectors, from restaurants to transportation. But authorities expect 10 to 15 million visitors to return next year, with revenues forecast to surpass $30 billion.

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