Thailand drops proof of vaccination requirement for tourists

09 Jan 2023 07:49pm
Image for illustrative purposes only - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only - FILE PIX
BANGKOK - Thailand has rescinded a COVID-19 prerequisite with immediate effect that required travellers entering the kingdom to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said unvaccinated and non-fully vaccinated travellers will also be granted entry into the kingdom.

"International travellers arriving in Thailand are not required to show proof of vaccination.

"As many travellers are vaccinated, showing proof of vaccination would be inconvenient. Therefore the health panel agreed that it is unnecessary,” he told reporters today.

He added that international travellers were neither required to undergo pre-departure COVID-19 tests.

On Saturday, Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced that starting today all international travellers must prove they are vaccinated or provide a letter certifying that they have recovered from COVID within six months while unvaccinated travellers must show medical certificate explaining why they are not vaccinated.

Earlier, Anutin attended a welcoming ceremony of the first flight bringing Chinese tourists since the COVID-19 pandemic at Suvarnabhumi airport today. Also present were Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob and Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

Today, Thailand is expected to welcome 3,465 Chinese passengers arriving from China and Hong Kong, the first group of Chinese tourists since the pandemic.

Starting Sunday, China relaxed many of its stringent COVID restrictions including its inbound quarantine measures.
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Meanwhile, Anutin said Thailand revised its 2023 tourist arrivals projection.

"Thailand is expecting seven to 10 million Chinese visitors to the kingdom this year compared to 5 million earlier.

"This is a good sign for Thailand’s tourism sector. This will help Thailand’s economic recovery efforts,” he said.

Thailand was projecting at least 25 million tourists generating tourism receipts of 2.38 trillion baht (RM$284 billion) this year - including five million Chinese tourists - the world's largest outbound travel market in 2019.

For 2022, Thailand welcomed more than 11.5 million tourists.

Meanwhile, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said Thailand is offering a longer period of stay for visitors.

In a statement, it said the period of stay is extended to 45 days (from 30 days) for tourists from countries/territories entitled for visa exemption, and to 30 days (from 15 days) for those eligible for a Visa on Arrival (VOA), effective through to 31 March this year.

"Thailand is aiming to correspond with rules of these countries and does require COVID insurance for visitors from these countries or visitors to Thailand continuing on to these countries, in the case they test positive while in Thailand. Among such countries are China and India,” it said.

At present, he said there would be 15 flights per week from China compared to 400 flights before pandemic.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said 338 flights from China will land at Suvarnabhumi airport, including 98 in January, 144 in February and 96 in March.

Besides that, the flight frequencies in other provinces including Phuket and Chiang Mai would gradually increase from January to March this year. - BERNAMA