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Thailand's cautious welcome to overseas tourists

Visitors will be able to apply for a long-stay visa for Thailand from this month.

The reopening rumours have been swirling since the summer, but finally Thailand has committed to a limited re-entry scheme for international visitors.

The Thai government agreed this week to allow international arrivals to stay for 90 days on the back of a special, long-stay visa. However, visitors must agree to a 14-day quarantine in a partner hotel or hospital (more details are expected to be released soon). Once quarantine is completed, visitors will be able to travel throughout Thailand, but must stay in touch with authorities via a special app.

The Special Tourist Visas (STVs) will be issued for long-stay guests arriving for either leisure or health tourism reasons.

According to a government spokesperson, the target is to welcome up to 300 visitors a week - or 1,200 visitors a month - in a bid to generate around one billion Baht a month to bolster the ailing tourism industry.

The STVs can be extended twice for an additional 90 days each time. The visa costs 2,000 Baht (about US$65) and then the same again for each extension. It’s envisaged that visitors could start arriving in the country from October, which coincides with the beginning of high season for much of Thailand.

Applications for STVs will be considered this month. To apply, visitors will need Covid-19 insurance up to US$100,000, a Certificate of Entry, a Fit to Fly certificate and proof of a Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours before travel.

Flights will be limited to just 100 people, with just two to three flights permitted to land each week.


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