Thailand plans to further relax its cross-border entry rules for double-vaccinated tourists, probably starting in June. Then, the current model requiring PCR tests before departure and after arrival, as well as online registration for the "Thailand Passport" could be abolished altogether.
The prerequisite is that corona numbers do not rise dramatically after the traditional Songkran New Year holiday, which is celebrated April 13-15. "Thailand jumped ahead like a rabbit last year and ran fast when we reopened to visitors. We can't let the country fall behind now, while many nations are opening borders and have fewer restrictions than we do," said Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, referring to numerous other countries in Southeast Asia that are now welcoming tourists back.
Tour operators and hoteliers in the Southeast Asian vacation paradise have long been calling for the rules to be further relaxed in order to attract more guests.
In July 2021, Thailand became the first country in the region to restore quarantine-free vacations on its largest island, Phuket.
Ratchakitprakarn stressed that he expects about seven million tourists for the full year of 2022. That would be three million fewer than initially hoped, but the worldwide Omicron wave and the war in Ukraine would weigh heavily on the sector. Only in 2024 do the authorities expect as many guests as before the pandemic. In 2019, as many as 40 million tourists traveled to Thailand. In 2020, the industry recorded a drop of 6%. Tourism industry represents 15% of the country’s GDP.