Thailand to resume quarantine-free tourism as COVID-19 cases ease

Published on : Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thailand will resume a quarantine-free visa program for vaccinated visitors after its suspension last month helped the tourism-reliant nation curb a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

The international travelers can start applying for visas under Thailand’s Test & Go entry program from Feb. 1, Rachada Dhnadirek, a government spokeswoman, said on Twitter after a meeting of the nation’s main COVID-19 task force on Thursday.

Rachada said that the quarantine-free entry will be extended to applicants of all nationalities, and they will need to undergo two Covid-19 tests, one upon arrival and another on the fifth day.

The decision to ease entry barriers for travelers is in line with the government’s call to treat COVID-19 as endemic this year and efforts to revive the tourism sector that employs millions of people. While Thailand saw a jump in new cases after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, they are far below their peak during the delta wave and have yet to overwhelm the nation’s health-care system.

The tourism-reliant Thailand has experimented with several plans over the past two years to try to restart the travel sector that used to contribute to about one-fifth of its economy, with 40 million foreign tourists generating more than $60 billion in 2019.  

The Test & Go programme, which previously allowed vaccinated travelers from more than 60 countries to skip quarantine, helped attract about 350,000 visitors in just two months before it was suspended. Authorities have since widened its Phuket Sandbox tourism program to three more regions to lure holidaymakers.

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