Thailand to relax entry rules for tourists to support economic recovery | Travel - Hindustan Times
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Thailand to relax entry rules for tourists to support economic recovery as war hits arrivals

Bloomberg | | Posted by Krishna Priya Pallavi
Mar 16, 2022 04:17 PM IST

The nation’s main Covid task force will consider on Friday a Health Ministry proposal to waive the RT-PCR test requirement before travelling to Thailand, according to Permanent Secretary of Public Health Kiattiphum Wongrajit.

Thailand plans to scrap a mandatory pre-arrival Covid-free certificate for vaccinated tourists to support an economic recovery facing headwinds from the pandemic and the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Thailand to relax entry rules for tourists to support economic recovery as war hits arrivals(REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa)
Thailand to relax entry rules for tourists to support economic recovery as war hits arrivals(REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa)

The nation’s main Covid task force will consider on Friday a Health Ministry proposal to waive the RT-PCR test requirement before travelling to Thailand, according to Permanent Secretary of Public Health Kiattiphum Wongrajit. The ministry is also seeking to lower the minimum medical insurance need to $10,000 from $20,000, he said. 

Travellers will still need to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival and a self-administered rapid antigen test on day five, Kiattiphum said.

Thailand, which is battling an omicron-fuelled Covid wave, currently requires vaccinated visitors to pre-book a hotel and an RT-PCR test before applying for a visa. They also require a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding a flight. 

ALSO READ | Here's what it’s like to visit Bangkok now, without curbs amid Omicron spread

The Thai tourism industry has called the visa rules “cumbersome” and sought free entry for inoculated travellers to draw more visitors. The return of tourists in large numbers is key to sustaining a nascent economic revival after the sector in 2019 attracted 40 million foreign visitors and generated more than $60 billion in revenue. Russian tourist arrivals this year are seen 50% below an earlier forecast of 500,000 due to the travel disruptions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce.  

“We will propose further easing of travel requirements this Friday as the Covid-19 situation is moving in line with our assumption, which predicts new cases to start slowing down from mid-March,” Kiattiphum told reporters. 

The Covid task force will also deliberate a road-map for classifying the pandemic as endemic from July, Kiattiphum said, adding it may also waive mask mandate in some places such as public parks. A national state of emergency to handle the pandemic may no longer be required once the outbreak is classified as endemic, he said.

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