Thailand’s popular holiday island of Phuket is back open and ready to welcome its first international arrivals in over 6 months. The first trickle of tourists to be approved under the new Special Tourism Visa scheme (also known as STV) will arrive next week, bringing Phuket – and Thailand’s – tourism drought to an end.
The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme will land in Phuket on 8th October, on a flight from Guangzhou in southern China, where the Covid-19 situation has long been stable and under control. The travellers will be required to provide a ‘Fit to Fly’ medical certificate from their home country, which states that they are free from Covid-19 at the point of departure.
The holders of the STV will become Thailand’s first visitors under the new long-term stay strategy, with approval for a maximum of 270 days in Thailand permitted. A total of 120 passengers are scheduled to fly, and will spend their first 14 days in Thailand in a state-approved quarantine facility, as per the rules of the STV. In order to receive their visa and a Certificate of Entry (COE), the passengers will also have been required to arrange travel insurance covering Covid-19, equal to at least USD 100,000.
Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has confirmed that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to the 14-day quarantine.
There was also good news this week for travellers who have remained in Thailand throughout the Covid-19 lockdown: the government has extended its amnesty on visa extensions to the end of October, which will allow all foreigners without visas or with lapsed visas to sort out their situation. A 60-day extension will be available. Thai Immigration officials estimate that there are around 150,000 foreigners still in Thailand without a valid visa.