Thailand is now open to people visiting from all countries during pandemic
With the country’s Sandbox travel schemes in full-swing, businesses still aren’t seeing the numbers they’re expecting. Not yet, at least.
To make things better for incoming tourists, the Thai government has also reduced the mandatory quarantine period from 14 days to just seven days at the original arrival destination, after which tourists can go explore other places like, Koh Samui, Koh Phang Ngan, Koh Tao, Khao Lak, Koh Yao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay Beach.
The icing on the cake? The ‘approved countries’ list has been removed, which means ANY fully-vaccinated traveler can enter the Kingdom.
Why is this important, you ask? For starters, Malaysia was previously excluded from the now-defunct ‘approved countries’ list, a real sour point for Malaysians eager to get traveling once it’s allowed again.
But looking at historical figures, Malaysia was Thailand’s second-largest tourism market before the pandemic turned everything upside down. In fact, over four million Malaysians visited Thailand in 2019 alone. With almost 80 percent of Malaysia’s adult population fully vaccinated, it’s surely an exciting time for them to be planning future vacations once leisure travel is allowed.
According to Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Malaysians will be allowed to travel abroad for leisure by December, depending on the country’s vaccination numbers by that point. He also stressed that it could even be earlier than that.
The Phuket Sandbox, which aimed to partially revive Thailand’s ailing tourism sector, was launched on July 1, 2020. The numbers brought in so far amount to 38,000 foreign tourists, generating a total of US$68 million (2.3 billion Baht).
However, there are many deterrents that are making foreign visitors think twice before planning a vacation in Thailand. The first of which include expensive PCR tests, which are mandatory, of course. At the same time, not many hotels are open for visitors in the first place. This makes the hotel booking experience a little more than stressful and rushed.
And perhaps the most glaring of issues is Thailand’s low vaccination rate, coupled with high infection numbers. The country has even been put on several no-go lists, including that of the U.S. and the UK.
But the struggle doesn’t just lie in Thailand being a no-go destination. If, let’s say, a British national were to visit Thailand, they’d also have to undergo a mandatory quarantine once they return home. This makes for complicated trip planning, and acts as another post-vacay deterrent.
Are Thai authorities rushing into a complete reopening in an effort to save its tourism industry?
Employing the sandbox model, Thai authorities are hoping to reopen other major hotspots, including Bangkok, starting in November.
20 more locations are slated to be reopened in December once vaccination numbers are higher.
But with daily new COVID-19 infections reaching up to 11,000 cases and vaccination numbers on a declining trend, the country will be hard-pressed to prove itself as a safe pandemic holiday destination by year’s end.
If, by any chance, you are planning to take advantage of the loosened restrictions, check out this TAT guide to get yourself properly prepared.
News Credit: sea.mashable.com