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Thailand sees signs of tourism recovery, plans to further ease entry requirements

Thailand tourism

Thailand to introduce $9 visitor fee from April Photo: File

Thailand has received more than 100,000 international visitors after exempting quarantine for fully-vaccinated visitors this month, with the monthly arrivals equaling the combined number of the first 10 months of the year, an official said Friday.

To attract tourist arrivals, the country will further ease entry requirements for fully-vaccinated international travellers on Dec. 1 by replacing the on-arrival RT-PCR test with a much cheaper and faster antigen test, according to Natapanu Nopakun, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Currently, international travellers, who arrived from 63 designated low-risk countries and regions and have passed an RT-PCT test within 72 hours prior to arrival, could enter Thailand without mandatory quarantine but need to undergo another RT-PCT test upon arrival and be confined to their hotel room until the test results are received.

With the adjustment of entry requirements, announced Friday by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the period of quarantine for inbound travellers from other countries and regions and heading to Bangkok and 16 other destinations in Thailand will also be reduced to five days next month from the current one week as long as they have been fully vaccinated.

The adjustment came as Thailand’s tourism has shown signs of recovery after the kingdom allowed fully-vaccinated visitors flying from the low-risk countries and regions to skip mandatory quarantine on Nov. 1.

The number of international tourist arrivals totalled 104,065 between Nov. 1 and 25, Natapanu said at Friday’s CCSA news briefing. This was compared with 106,117 during the January-October period, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The number, however, remained far below the nearly 40 million foreign tourist arrivals registered in 2019 and 6.7 million in 2020.

Thailand reported 6,559 new COVID-19 cases and 64 additional deaths on Friday, raising the total number of infections to more than 2.09 million and the cumulative fatalities to 20,645.

As of Thursday, 55.8 percent of the country’s total population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CCSA.

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