For the first time in seven months, Thailand is welcoming its first international travelers. However, it is a part of a new “Special Tourist Visa” program.
There were about 39 visitors that landed in Bangkok from Shanghai. They will have to stay in the country for at least 30 days which is part of the new rule. However, this is a special initiative that the Thai cabinet approved in September.
The visitors will have to take out a special insurance policy as it is a part of the requirements for the visa. Moreover, they will have to get a Covid-19 test before they travel and prove they have accommodation for the duration of their stay in the country.
However, visitors arriving in the country will have to stay in a government-approved hotel or hospital. Moreover, they will have to quarantine for the first 14 days. They will also need to download the official coronavirus-tracking app and use it during their time in the country.
People traveling from Thailand’s list of low-risk countries are eligible to apply for the Special Tourist Visa. But the visas are valid for up to 90 days and can be renewed twice.
Currently, all international flights will be arriving in Bangkok. But future destinations may include Phuket if the program is successful.
Expecting More Tourists
Thailand’s tourism ministry is expecting two other flights from China later this year. As well as around 400 foreign visitors in early November.
At the moment, Thailand is on the UK Foreign Office’s safe list. This means that returning visitors do not have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
However, the UK is currently not on Thailand’s list of low-risk countries, which means those traveling from the UK will not be able to apply for the visa.
Thailand’s borders are only open to travelers from the UK in certain situations. Such as if you hold a valid work permit, or are an international student.
The country which had more tourists than anybody is now affected by the pandemic like any other country. Thailand has always relied on tourism and the COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on the lives of the locals. On average a vendor selling magnets and other souvenirs would earn up to the US $ 300 a day. But since the outbreak, the average earning has dropped to the US $ 5 -7 per day. Tourism normally accounts for more than 10% of Thailand’s GDP.
In the fight against the pandemic, the government of Thailand has approved 3 projects that are combined for a total value of US $ 707 million. This expensive project is set to revive the tourism industry.
However, these projects will promote domestic travel. Since the travel ban on Thailand’s international borders, tourists have been absent from the once busy streets of Thailand.