11 July 2024

Thailand has further eased COVID-19 restrictions by scrapping quarantine for international arrivals and allowing the partial reopening of pubs, bars and other entertainment venues, including soapy massage parlours, from today (Wednesday), amid declining infections and fatalities.

Under the new rules, fully-vaccinated foreign travellers must submit the required documents, including passport, certificate of vaccination and the proof of medical insurance cover of at least US$10,000. For unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign travellers, a COVID-19 RT-PCR or rapid antigen tests result, issued within the 72 hours before travel, is required. All land border crossing points will also be opened on June 1st.

Quarantine has also been scrapped for those who are deemed to be at high-risk of infection following exposure.

The “Thailand Pass” system is scrapped for Thai citizens, but remains in place for non-Thais. Over 895,000 people applied for the Pass between April 29th and May 31st, with about 875,000 being approved, according to the Disease Control Department.

Visitors from Singapore topped the list of international arrivals by air in May, followed by India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. The average daily arrivals in May 2022 rose to 20,000, which clearly reflects a level of recovery.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has forecast that over 500,000 tourists per month will enter the country from nearby markets during the low season (May- September), and over 1 million per month in the high season (October- December), which will also include more distant markets, such as Europe and the U.S. With this forecast, the total number of incoming tourists is expected to be approx. 7-10 million, generating over 1.5 trillion Baht, or a 50% recovery compared to 2019 (pre-COVID-19).

Meanwhile, approved pubs, bars, karaoke bars and soapy massage parlours are now allowed to open in the 17 tourism “sandbox” provinces, including Bangkok, and in the “Green” Surveillance zones of 14 provinces. Alcoholic beverages can be served up until midnight.

Some of the venues had been previously allowed to operate as eateries, if approved by authorities.

The mask mandate will, however, remain in place pending a decision, tentatively set for mid-June, over gradually relaxing it in some areas.

Thailand has recorded 4,563 COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths in past 24 hours.