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Thailand to reopen Bangkok for fully vaccinated tourists in October with no quarantine needed

Tourists who are fully vaccinated can visit Bangkok and four other provinces from Oct 1 with no quarantine restrictions.

Noreen Shazreen

Probably the coolest cat lady you’ll ever meet.

Published: 13 September 2021, 12:37 PM

Those who miss the charred, fiery flavours of pad thai, inexpensive goods from street markets, or want to experience the history and culture of Bangkok can do so as early as this October.

Thai officials announced on Friday (Sep 10) that Bangkok will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists from Oct 1, hoping to revive the tourism industry after being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, tourism contributed to about a fifth of Thailand’s income. But since travel restrictions were imposed to combat the virus, the country saw a significant decline in foreign visitors, leading to the economy’s worst performance in over two decades.

Despite a deadly third wave of infections sparked by the Delta variant, the country is moving forward with its reopening plans. Between Saturday and Sunday, Thailand had 14,029 new cases and 180 deaths.

Foreign travellers who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit Bangkok and four other provinces without undergoing two weeks of hotel quarantine, The Tourism Authority of Thailand said.

These five provinces – including Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan – will instead adopt a “sandbox” model that has been implemented since July for tourists visiting the Thai resort island of Phuket.

Visitors who wish to participate in the sandbox scheme must stay within a particular area for seven days upon arrival and take COVID-19 tests.

According to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the sandbox scheme in Phuket brought in nearly US$50 million (S$67 million) in revenue.

As part of the newly-launched Samui Plus tourism model, Thailand has reopened three more islands – Samui, Tao and Phangan, but with more restrictions.

The list will be expanded by 21 more destinations later in October, including Chiang Rai, Sukhothai and popular seaside getaway Rayong.

As Thailand’s third and deadliest COVID-19 wave has not fully subsided, the tourism agency officials have warned that these plans could change.

In 2020, Thailand showed a relatively low rate of COVID-19 infections. But since April, the number of COVID-19 cases have soared to more than 1.3 million, with nearly 14,000 deaths caused by the Delta variant.

Thailand’s authorities reported that 16 per cent of its population has received two vaccine doses.

Singaporean citizens and permanent residents returning from Thailand will be required to complete a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at designated SHN facilities. They will also be required to take a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours before departure and upon arrival in Singapore.

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