Thailand delays plans to reopen Bangkok to tourists

The Thai capital has pushed back its reopening to November as most of the city’s residents wait for their second Covid-19 jab

Bangkok in Thailand has pushed back its reopening to international vaccinated tourists to November. Photo: Miltiadis Fragkidis / Unsplash
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Travellers hoping to fly to Thailand in October will have to wait a bit longer to visit Bangkok, after authorities announced plans to delay the proposed reopening of the city a second time.

Initially set to welcome vaccinated tourists from October 1, the Thai capital announced it would reopen in mid-October last week, but authorities have now said the city will remain closed to overseas visitors until at least November.

The move comes as many Bangkok residents wait for their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Under proposed reopening plans, local vaccination rates must be above 70 per cent before vaccinated tourists can visit.

“Cities we’ve targeted have not reached 70 per cent vaccination rates and so we have to push out the date to November,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

A previous discussion between Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand's Minister of Tourism and Sports, and Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang had announced a postponement of the reopening of Bangkok from October 1 to October 15.

As the most-visited city in the world before the pandemic, Bangkok's prolonged closure has hit the tourism economy in Thailand hard.

It is the first destination most tourists visit when travelling to Thailand, so the city's reopening is set to be a boost for the whole country.

The tourism ministry previously pledged to open the capital and to bring at least one million international tourists by the end of 2021. That's in comparison to the 40 million arrivals seen that year. This year, it’s aiming to attract a mere one million international visitors.

Other provinces in Thailand are already welcoming vaccinated travellers including Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.

Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai, famed for its temples and mountains, as well as beach resorts Pattaya, Cha-Am and Hua Hin, have also been preparing to reopen to tourists.

A tweet from the Tourism Authority of Thailand on Thursday showcases Chiang Mai and states that the destinations will reopen to travellers "sooner rather than later", but no confirmed date is given.

Updated: September 27, 2021, 6:38 AM