The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that the country is ready to accept international tourists starting November 1, 2021. After an 18-month hiatus, Thailand is now gearing up to reopen the borders of Bangkok as well as other top destinations such as Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, and Krabi to international tourists starting this week. Last July, the Kingdom dipped its toes back into the game through the Phuket Sandbox program which saw the reopening of Phuket and Koh Samui.
Through the Test & Go program, Thailand is now set to welcome visitors and returning residents from sixty-three approved countries and territories including Australia, Belgium, China, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United States, and the United Kingdom. The travelers will be allowed to enter Thailand’s territories by air without any quarantine requirements, provided that they are fully vaccinated and have spent at least 21 consecutive days in the country of origin beforehand. Moreover, tourists are required to present negative COVID-19 test results before and upon arrival. They are also required to book with SHA+ accredited establishments and accommodation facilities.
Meanwhile, seventeen provinces will be considered as “Business & Leisure Ultimate Experiences Zones” or simply called the blue zones. Curfews are expected to be lifted in these destinations, and they will be open to fully-vaccinated travelers from any country around the world. However, contrary to the Test & Go travelers, blue zone travelers will be required to stay at least 7 days within the blue zone areas, with COVID-19 tests conducted upon arrival and during the 6th or 7th day. By December, the government aims to increase the number of blue zones to 33 provinces and eventually to 45 provinces by January 2022. Provinces are required to have a vaccination rate of at least 70% of their population to qualify as a blue zone.
On the other hand, an Alternative Quarantine (AQ) System will be implemented for travelers who are not yet fully vaccinated or those who prefer to visit destinations outside the blue zone. The AQ System follows the same testing and insurance requirements as the blue zone but would require stricter quarantine protocols ranging from seven to fourteen days.
To prepare for the reopening, the staff members, health experts, and immigration officers of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport conducted a simulation of tourist arrivals and electronic screening measures. Passengers will be getting QR codes which will include pertinent details about their travel such as their travel bookings, insurance, and vaccine certificate.
Similar to other popular tourist destinations around the world, Thailand encountered major losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About three million tourism jobs have been affected, while an estimated $50 billion revenue loss has been recorded. The Kingdom is targeting 100,000 arrivals upon reopening – a stark contrast to the nearly 40 million arrivals per year before the pandemic.
As the world slowly wakes up from a two-year slumber, the tourism industry also starts to embrace the new normal with Thailand well on its way to becoming one of the industry trailblazers. With all the plans in place and protocols ready to roll, the Land of Smiles is now ready to reintroduce its breathtaking beauty and warm hospitality to the world.
For more detailed information about traveling to Thailand, visit the newsroom of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.