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Thailand drops Test & Go to boost tourism

Holidaymakers enjoy the Phuket sunshine pre-pandemic (image courtesy Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock).

Thailand is the latest Southeast Asian destination to drop all entry requirements for travellers.

From May 1, the country’s ‘Test & Go’ programme will be axed and fully vaccinated inbound visitors will no longer have to test to enter the country.

However, the Thailand Pass registration scheme will remain. Applications for the scheme under the new rules will be accepted from April 29. Arrivals will also be required to have medical insurance for at least US$10,000.

Despite the axing of mandatory tests, travellers will, however, be “encouraged” to take a voluntary self-administered lateral flow/rapid antigen test during their stay; if it returns a positive result they will be responsible for taking care of their own treatment.

Testing and quarantine requirements will remain in place for unvaccinated visitors. However, if they choose to take a PCR test on departure and have proof of a negative result, they will no longer have to take a test on arrival and will be free to travel throughout Thailand from when they land.

Some Covid regulations will remain in place within the country. Restaurants will be able to sell alcohol until midnight from May 1, but pubs, bars, karaoke lounges and nightclubs will remain closed.

According to prime minister Prayut Chan-O-cha, the relaxed entry rules will boost tourism. “We will need to rely on tourism significantly during this time to ensure our economic recovery,” he said.

Tourist numbers rose to nearly 500,000 in the first quarter of this year, a jump of more than 20,000 compared to a year earlier. However, pre-pandemic Thailand was welcoming several million tourists to the country. It’s expected up to five million holidaymakers will visit this year.

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