Travelers wondering what it’s like to visit Thailand now may be interested to know that the country is “allowing almost anything” again.
That’s according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the government agency responsible for promoting tourism in the country.
Masks are no longer required and the country’s color-coded system, which imposed different limits on restaurants, gatherings and travel by province, is also a thing of the past, according to the TAT.
It is also much easier to get to Thailand now.
What is needed
Masks, which used to be mandatory on the beach, are no longer mandatory in Thailand.
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Unvaccinated travelers who show up in Thailand without a negative test result within 72 hours of travel will have to pay for and have a Covid-19 test on-site, according to the TAT. Travelers who test positive will also have to pay for their medical expenses, according to a TAT official.
Foreign travelers will still be required to present passports and visas to enter the country, if required.
“Thailand Pass” no longer required
Travelers no longer need to apply for a “Thailand Passport” to enter the country. Launched in May, it required travelers to present proof of vaccinations, health insurance and other documents before departure.
Fewer rules, more tourists
It didn’t take long for tourists to react to Thailand’s relaxed travel rules.
The day after the Thailand Pass was abolished, tourist arrivals at Phuket International Airport surged 20%, with an estimated 9,000 people arriving on Friday, according to a report released by the Thai Public Broadcasting Service.
On the same day, the number of people entering Thailand at various checkpoints along the borders with Malaysia and Laos also increased, according to the article.
Indian nationals led the increase in travelers flying into Phuket last weekend, according to the Thai Public Broadcasting Service.
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The number of online searches Hotel bookings have also increased from July 1, said Michael Marshall, chief commercial officer of Thailand-based hotel operator Minor Hotels.
“Although it’s still early days since all restrictions were lifted, we’ve seen almost 10,000 combined new searches for Thai travel destinations from different markets on our website since July 1, which is a very encouraging sign for the future.”
Even before the rule change, Thailand’s tourism industry was picking up speed.
International arrivals nearly quadrupled from January to May this year, according to Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports. According to ministry statistics, more than 1.3 million foreigners arrived during that period, compared with fewer than 35,000 in the same period in 2021.
From January to May 2022, 43% of visitors to Thailand came from Asia, followed by 38% from Europe, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand.
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“We expect the momentum to continue… [now that] the Thai government has lifted the latest restrictions on international travellers,” Marshall said.
Tourist arrivals have grown the most this year to Phuket, Koh Samui and areas in northern Thailand, he said.
path to recovery
Thailand’s tourism recovery may be headed in the right direction, but the road to recovery is expected to be a long one as inflation, rising travel costs and rising Covid rates shake travelers worldwide. The loss of travelers from the largest source market, China, will not help this year either.
Amid these headwinds, Thai officials are forecasting between five and 15 million international arrivals this year — a huge increase from last year’s 428,000 foreign arrivals, but a far cry from the nearly 40 million tourists who arrived in 2019, according to Reuters.