Thailand to allow quarantine-free travel from 46 countries

Prime minister announces changes to travel from November 1

The Big Buddha and Kata Beach in Phuket. AFP

Thailand will let vaccinated visitors from 46 countries forgo Covid-19 quarantine from next month, up from 10 previously announced, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday.

The South-East Asian country is poised to introduce the new quarantine-free travel arrangements on November 1 as it seeks to revive its vital tourism industry.

The 46 countries include Britain, the US, China, Singapore, Germany and Australia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Mr Chan-ocha said the visitors could miss mandatory quarantine as long as they arrived by air, were fully vaccinated and had a document to show they were virus-free.

Thailand will reopen the capital Bangkok and other key tourist destinations, including Hua Hin and Pattaya, where curfews will be lifted at the end of the month, reported the Royal Gazette released late on Thursday.

Strict entry requirements and quarantine measures helped to keep Thailand's coronavirus outbreaks under control until recent months.

But the curbs led arrival numbers to plummet to a fraction of the nearly 40 million visitors in 2019.

A tuk-tuk drives down Khao San Road in Bangkok. Photo: AFP

Thailand lost about $50 billion in tourism revenue last year, a drop of 82 per cent.

It started with a pilot reopening that began on July 1 on its most popular island, Phuket, which has been vaccinating most of its local population.

Only 100,000 foreign visitors are expected this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Updated: October 21, 2021, 9:34 PM