Thailand will remain closed to the vast majority of foreign tourists until at least the second quarter of 2021.
Last week, Pipat Ratchakitprakan, Minister for Tourism and Sports told Thai media that Thailand’s borders are likely to remain closed to foreign tourists until March next year.
Currently only a relatively small number of foreigners are eligible to enter Thailand.
These include business people such as technical experts, high level workers and those in the medical field, foreigners who are married to or a parent of a Thai national, property owners, retiree visa holders, Elite Card holders and those who enter Thailand under the Special Tourist Visa scheme – all of which have to undergo mandatory 14 day quarantine.
Minister Pipat also added that talks with so called ‘low-risk’ countries regarding the creation of travel bubbles remain ongoing.
Countries including Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan had previously been mooted as possible travel bubble partners.
This week, the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce urged the Thai government to set up a travel bubble with China.
Narongsak Phutthaphrommongkhon, chief of the Thai Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said a pilot scheme should be introduced that would allow Chinese tourists from Guangzhou to travel to Phuket. Once the scheme would be proved successful, Thailand could then establish further travel bubbles with as many as 19 other Chinese provinces.
The prospect of Thailand’s borders remaining closed to most foreigners until March will come as a further blow to Thailand’s beleaguered tourism industry which this week was told not to expect the pre-coronavirus pandemic level of 40 million visitors to return to Thailand until 2024.