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Phuket set to welcome international tourists

Thailand is set to open its borders for the first time since March (photo courtesy Unsplash).

After months of discussion, debate and ‘will they won’t they’ speculation, Thailand is finally set to open up to overseas tourists.

The governor of The Tourism Authority of Thailand told the Thai media today that a group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou in southern China will fly to the island of Phuket on October 8.

While it’s unlikely such a small number of tourists will do much to help Thailand’s ailing tourist economy, it is a step towards recovery in a region of the world that has remained firmly locked down since the outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of the year. Thailand officially closed its borders in March.

The group of Chinese tourists will be expected to quarantine and undergo multiple Covid-19 tests. At the end of October, a second group from China will arrive and on November 1, a small group from Scandinavia will fly out.

All holidaymakers this autumn will be ‘long stay tourists’ who will be staying for up to 90 days under the Special Tourist Visa. Visitors will have the option of two extensions to the visa if they wish.

Nationalities permitted to enter will be from countries that are deemed to be low risk by the Thai government. Tourists must travel with health insurance and a negative test taken 72 hours before travelling. They will then undergo 14 days of quarantine on arrival, during which time they will be tested twice more.

“We are not opening the country, we are limiting the number of entries and we will manage with wrist bands and apps to follow them,” said prime minister Prayuth Chanocha.

Thailand has reported 3,559 cases and 59 deaths from coronavirus.


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