Thailand Scraps Covid-19 Pre-Travel Testing To Boost Tourism

khao sok national park in khlong sok, thailand

The Thai government announced Friday that travelers will no longer need to take the Covid-19 test before boarding a plane under plans intended to revive the pandemic-hit tourism industry.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesman for Thailand’s Covid-19 task force, said visitors will be tested on arrival in Thailand from April 1, rather than within 72 hours of traveling.

In the early stages of the pandemic, Draconian travel restrictions helped Thailand limit the number of cases and deaths but doomed its tourism industry, which accounts for a fifth of its economy. Thailand records about 25,000 new cases of Covid each day as the Omicron variant spreads across the country, but authorities hope the number will decline by July, so they can move to a “post-pandemic” phase.

Over the past nine months, Thailand has gradually eased travel restrictions as part of its efforts to rebound from its worst economic performance since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Tourism-dependent businesses, however, are urging the government to do more and go faster to entice tourists back to the kingdom’s beaches and resorts.

Thailand’s tourism industry estimates that around five million foreign tourists will travel to Thailand in 2022, a decline from nearly 40 million visitors the year before the flu pandemic started.

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