In a press conference this evening, the Prime Minister of Thailand announced that he has instructed the two relevant agencies to draw up plans and prepare for the opening of the country on November 1, 2021.
Included in the first group of eligible travelers are direct arrivals from 10 countries that are deemed “low-risk” and according to news reports these include United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States.
Out of this list China is obviously still sealed shut in terms of travel activity and Singaporeans would face quarantine coming back from Thailand.
The news were reported by the Bangkok Post tonight (access here).
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday that he will push for the opening up of the country to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from at least 10 countries on Nov 1, as the government earlier planned.
Gen Prayut said in a nationally televised broadcast that fully vaccinated tourists from at least 10 low-risk countries would be allowed to enter Thailand by air with no quarantine requirements.
The prime minister named the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States among the first group of countries to benefit from the move.
“I have instructed the CCSA and the Ministry of Public Health to urgently consider within this week to allow, as of Nov 1, international visitors to enter Thailand without any requirement for quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries,” he said.
He pledged to open the gates for more countries by Dec 1 and targeted others by Jan 1.
Tourists from countries not on the low-risk list would be allowed but they would be required to quarantine, he added. …
The Bank of Thailand estimated only 200,000 foreign arrivals this year with the number jumping to 6 million next year.
The prime minister said the government will allow restaurants and other places to sell alcohol by Dec 1 to promote tourism and the entertainment sector as people plan to celebrate the new year.
These are definitely good news. Keep in mind that this isn’t a firm plan yet and that proposals have to go through various rounds of policy making including the cabinet and the Covid Situation Council (CCSA).
It’s therefore advisable to hold back from booking anything until a more firm framework has been published. Of course no harm done if you want to use miles/points and have the options of cancelling free of charge at any point.
Amazing how these numbers fluctuate in the millions each week. A few days ago they were expecting 1 million visitors in 2021 and 3 million in 2022. Now we’re at 300k in 2021 and 6 million in the following year.
Keep in mind that it really means nothing to open your borders to countries that won’t let you out or easily back into. China won’t be sending any tourists in the foreseeable future. And the number of visitors from countries who would face a rather punitive quarantine upon returning home will be sparse as well.
Nevertheless, these are the news many of us were waiting for. Thailand is also easing traveling within the country for fully vaccinated travelers who will no longer need a test result to visit Phuket and Samui.
Thailand is on the way to open up to at least ten countries that the CCSA will designate as “low risk” by November 1, 2021. Further tranches of other eligible countries will follow. These arrival have to be direct from the respective countries, again let’s wait and see what comes out of these meetings that will decide about the policy. Assuming direct means originating from the eligible country but a stop to change the flight along the way is allowed. Obviously you can’t fly direct, let alone nonstop from the U.S. to Thailand.
It hasn’t been mentioned yet if there will be any changes to the COE process which includes the requirement of insurance, prebooked tests in Thailand etc. I expect a timeline of ~ 7-10 days for something more definitive to come out. Of course this being Thailand it could also do a complete 180 within days (or hours).