Thailand announced Friday that it would stop requiring travellers to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a move aimed at reviving the tourism industry hit by the pandemic.
Although tight border restrictions helped limit infection and death rates in the kingdom in 2020, they brought the country’s tourism industry to its knees — which accounted for about five percent of the country’s economy.
The Covid-19 taskforce of Thailand announced that beginning May 1, fully vaccinated visitors would not need to take a test on arrival and wait in a hotel room for their results.
Officials are now only requiring new arrivals to present proof of vaccination and a health insurance policy of at least $10,000, according to Taskforce spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin.
Since we are heavily dependent on tourism, this will boost the economic (recovery) momentum, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
Travellers who are unvaccinated will need either to show a negative test result that was taken within 72 hours of departure or to undergo a five-day quarantine in a hotel.
Hoteliers, tour operators, and resorts have long sought hassle-free entry rules to entice more foreign tourists to Thailand. Thailand recently dropped the requirement for mandatory Covid tests before arrival.
Experts expect around five million international visitors to visit Thailand this year, down from nearly 40 million in 2019. The economy has not recovered from its worst performance since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.