After a few stops and starts, Thailand has welcomed a group of overseas tourists (photo courtesy Unsplash).
Thailand has welcomed its first arrivals travelling under the country’s Special Tourist Visa (STV) programme.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) introduced the visa for long-stay visitors including business travellers and tourists.
The programme initially planned for around 100 tourists from southern China to arrive in Phuket at the beginning of October. However, the plans were shelved at the last moment with the government claiming Phuket was not yet ready for visitors.
The group of Chinese visitors landed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport from Shanghai on October 20. They are the first international arrivals since Thailand closed its borders in March. A second group is due to arrive, also into Bangkok, from Guangzhou on October 26 and a third group on October 28, all flying with Thai Airways.
“The STV is offered to non-Thai nationals under the conditions that they comply with Thailand’s strict public health rules,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of TAT.
Regulations dictate that visitors must come from a country listed as low-risk by the Thai Ministry of Public Health, all arrivals must undergo procedures and provide documents as required by the scheme and they must also undergo Covid-19 testing and carry out a 14-day alternative local state quarantine. Currently, Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri, Buri Ram, Prachin Buri and Surat Thani are designated areas for alternative state quarantine. Accommodation options for the mandatory quarantine can be found online.