The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced late last week that five areas, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, would follow Phuket’s and Koh Samui’s lead on October 1, 2021, and reopen for international visitor arrivals without a hotel quarantine.
This announcement was already backpedaled this week on Wednesday when the tourism minister said that the opening of Bangkok should be delayed by two weeks to October 15. Then today, the governor of Bangkok said that the city would not open on October 15 to international arrivals without a quarantine.
Here’s an excerpt from the Thai PBS World:
Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang declared on Friday that Thailand’s capital will not reopen to fully vaccinated and COVID-19 negative international arrivals on October 15th, as announced by Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Wednesday (September 15th).
“To be able to reopen, infection prevention measures must be improved first. If we decide to reopen now, and there’s a new outbreak, it would be problematic,” he said.
To reopen, at least 70% of Bangkok’s population needs to have received two doses of vaccine and further discussions must be held with relevant agencies, the governor said, adding that City Hall will determine the reopening date itself.
The governor expects the 70% full vaccination target to be hit by October 22nd, but the campaign may be sped up if more doses of vaccines are allocated to the city.
Only almost 40% of Bangkok’s population aged 18 and over have received two doses of vaccine.
And from the Bangkok Post:
Reopening Bangkok and other cities to vaccinated foreign tourists is dependent on proper health measures being in place to cope with any surge in infections, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Friday.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry is pushing for the reopening of popular attractions in Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chon Buri on Oct 1, and Bangkok possibly on Oct 15.
Dr Apisamai said no decision has been made at this point. The ministry has not yet put forward any plan to reopen more of the country to foreign tourists.
So, who knows if any areas will be open from October 1st if no plans have been put forward yet.
Here’s what has happened in the past week:
And you wonder why the potential visitors to Thailand are confused when even the relevant authorities in the country, from the TAT and minister to the governor, cannot come up with a date acceptable to everyone.
Sebastian already warned me a few weeks ago not to take these announcements at face value and wait until they are published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, making them official.
It seems that there are quite a few forces in Thailand with different priorities when it comes to tourism. Some would like to see the opening accelerated, while others would rather wait until most of the population has been fully vaccinated.
The minister hoped to have million foreign visitors arrivals in Bangkok by the end of the year that I thought was laughable at best considering the numbers at Phuket and Koh Samui that are way off the initial projections.
I have not been in Bangkok since December 1, 2019, but I will be back in 10 days. It is interesting to see how the city and hotels are.