Life & Leisure

Thailand lifts restrictions on vaccinated travelers to boost tourism

Bangkok, Apr 22 (EFE).- Thailand announced Friday it would eliminate entry restrictions on travelers vaccinated for Covid-19 from May 1, to boost its important and damaged tourism sector.

The announcement implies the elimination of the current pandemic control system for passengers, known as “Test & Go,” which complicates the arrival of tourists to the country.

“We canceled the ‘Test & Go’, changing it to the antigen test, in a way that facilitates the opening to tourism (…) Many countries are changing their measures,” said Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, adding that Thailand relies on tourism to improve its economy.

The country’s Covid-19 control administration published on its Facebook page a “recommendation” for vaccinated passengers to undergo an ATK test, especially if they have symptoms similar to Covid-19.

The administration added that unvaccinated travelers and tourists must present a negative PCR performed in the last 72 hours and undergo another four or five days after landing in the country.

In addition, authorities will reduce the minimum health insurance coverage from $20,000 to $10,000.

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the tourism sector, which before the pandemic, officially declared in March 2020, accounted for between 12 and 20 percent of Thai GDP.

Last month, the Thai Hotel Association called on authorities to open the borders to tourism without restrictions, fearing the country would lose market share to other countries in the region.

International tourism in Thailand fell from 39.8 million visitors in 2019 to 6.7 million in 2020 and 420,000 last year, with receipts falling 90 percent, according to data from the Hotel Association.

In November, Thailand reduced the quarantine to one night, instead of seven days previously, but had to cancel the measure between Dec. 21 and Feb. 1 due to the omicron variant that increased infections.

The country, which has accumulated 4.13 million infections and 27,520 deaths, has vaccinated 72 percent of its population with the full schedule, according to data from Our World in Data. EFE


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