Confirmed cases: 3,447
Thailand’s borders currently remain closed to foreign arrivals. However, the latest news from the Land of Smiles gives some reason for optimism. On Wednesday, 9th September, the government announced it would finalise a schedule to reopen before the end of October. According to a statement by Thosaporn Sirisumphand, who is secretary of Thailand’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration, the plan would allow arrivals through Thailand’s international airports, subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine at the port of entry. Tourists who pass these safety measures would then be allowed to travel freely nationwide.
It should be noted that Thai officials have, with the best of intentions, outlined numerous revival plans, only to walk them back again following setbacks in the Covid-19 recovery. One recent example is the Phuket Travel Bubble strategy, which was set for launch on 1st October, but has now been delayed following a recent new case of Covid-19 in Thailand. It is not yet clear whether the plan has been scrapped or just postponed, but it certainly looks less likely at this time. As always, the news is pretty fluid and liable to change on a near daily basis, so stay tuned for more info.
Thailand had gone 100 days without any instances of local transmission until last week (first week of September), when an inmate at a Bangkok prison tested positive for Covid-19 during a routine test. Health officials have temporarily paused their reopening plans until they can track where the man contracted the virus and contain any potential clusters he may have caused.
Although officials are taking their time and proceeding with caution, they are under growing pressure from the Kingdom’s tourism sector, which is chomping at the bit to reopen. With so much of Thailand’s GDP generated by international tourism, industry leaders believe there is no option but to reopen. According to the Phuket Hotels Association: “No amount of induced local demand can prevent the dramatic continued loss of jobs and rapidly eroding financial crisis for owners and operators… We strongly advocate a safe, pragmatic, and strategic reopening for foreign travellers.”
Panorama Destination is working to ensure the safety of Panorama Destination clients when they do finally return to Thailand, and has introduced a set of health and safety protocols based on a dedicated Covid-19 policy. The business has also achieved safety certification from a range of internationally recognised organizations, including the following:
– Thailand Hygiene Plus Initiative (THPI)
– World Travel & Tourism Council ‘Safe Travels’ campaign
– “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration” certification (SHA) by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
We continue to work alongside the Government and with other DMCs in Thailand, to ensure safe and standardised services for all returning visitors; and will continue to provide the latest breaking news regarding Covid-19 and its impact on tourism via our social media channels:
We also understand that our clients, agents and partners have many concerns and questions regarding the current situation in Thailand with regards to Covid-19. To help address some of these issues, we’ve put together a series of frequently asked questions and provided a response according to the most current information.
(Please note that the Covid-19 situation in Thailand continues to develop on an almost daily basis. All information above and below is accurate at the time of writing – for the latest updates, please refer to our social media channels, or get in touch directly)
How serious is the Covid-19 situation in Thailand?
Covid-19 is currently under control in Thailand; officials in the Kingdom have been quick to isolate and contain any clusters of the virus over the last few months, and the number of new cases is relatively low and manageable.
What is the current tourism situation?
Thailand’s borders and ports remain closed to all international arrivals for the time being. The Kingdom is taking a slow and steady approach to reopening its tourism infrastructure.
When will Thailand reopen for international tourists?
Both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have suggested a wholesale reopening of Thailand’s borders to international arrivals in 2020 is unlikely. However, the situation continues to change, so watch this space! Confirmation of the reopening timeline is expected by 31st October.
What is Thailand’s strategy for reopening?
The pilot programme intended for Phuket, known as “Safe & Sealed”, appears to be a microcosm of Thailand’s wider strategy. This would allow international travellers to enter by air, then spend a 14-day quarantine period in a designated resort and undergo multiple tests to ensure they are free of the coronavirus. It is not yet confirmed whether their subsequent travel options would be limited, but the current information suggests it would not. The pilot programme intended for Phuket, known as “Safe & Sealed”, appears to be a microcosm of Thailand’s wider strategy. This would allow international travellers to enter by air, then spend a 14-day quarantine period in a designated resort and undergo multiple tests to ensure they are free of the coronavirus. It is not yet confirmed whether their subsequent travel options would be limited, but the current information suggests it would not.
Are there any plans to expand the range of foreigners allowed into Thailand?
The current regulations allow only four types of foreigners to enter Thailand. These are permanent residents, holders of a valid work permit, those invited by the Thai government, and migrant workers. There is no immediate plan to extend the list of foreigners permitted to enter Thailand at this time.
If my flight transits in Thailand, can I spend the day in Bangkok?
Unfortunately, no. At the moment, all transit flights require passengers to remain on the plane. Any passengers taken off the aircraft will likely be detained in a designated area of the airport until they can continue their onward journey.
Are there any visas available for travel to Thailand at the moment?
The Elite Visa programme lets holders re-enter Thailand with few hassles and little paperwork. However, it’s an expensive option and there’s currently a cap on the number of visas allowed (along with a 3-4 month waiting list for new applications). From a Covid-19 perspective, however, this is a positive step.
Can I travel to Thailand for Medical Tourism?
Actually, yes. Foreign medical tourists are now permitted (to apply) to come to Thailand for medical treatment, subject to strict disease control measures. Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) says Thailand’s medical and wellness tourism programme has been resumed with the hope of attracting medical tourists back into the country. Those seeking Covid-19 treatment will not be allowed to enter. Medical tourists will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 diagnosis, along with an appointment letter from a doctor in Thailand and an entry certificate issued by their local Thai embassy.
What about travellers currently stranded in Thailand?
At the end of July, the Thai government helpfully extended its visa amnesty for foreign nations in Thailand for another two months, until 26th September. However, they did state that this will not be extended further. If you cannot extend your visa beyond this date but expect to be in Thailand when it expires, you should contact your Embassy or Consulate – they can provide you with a letter recommending an extension of your stay. Although not arriving, international flights are still departing from Thailand, so you can get out if necessary.
Where can I find more information?
As always, check our website and social media channels for all the latest updates: