Government AffairsBusiness travellers and patients seeking medical treatment likely to be first on the list

Thailand to trial ‘travel bubbles’ allowing foreign arrivals

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The scheme, when implemented, would initially allow 1,000 foreign visitors to enter Thailand without needing to be in quarantine for 14 days. (Credit: Getty Images)
The scheme, when implemented, would initially allow 1,000 foreign visitors to enter Thailand without needing to be in quarantine for 14 days. (Credit: Getty Images)

BANGKOK – A plan to implement “travel bubbles” with selected countries that have shown they can effectively contain the spread of Covid-19 has been approved in principle by The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday.

Under the proposal, one thousand foreign visitors are expected to be allowed entry to Thailand daily without needing to adhere to the standard 14-day quarantine rule.

However, the visitors will still need to undergo Covid-19 screening tests before leaving their countries and upon arrival in Thailand. Once in Thailand, they will also have to be tracked via a smart phone application, reported Bangkok Post.

The initial bulk of these visitors will be formed by business travellers and patients seeking medical treatment in the country, who must come as part of the bilateral cooperation on tourism between Thailand and the identified countries, according to deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul.

If there are no infections among the initial foreign arrivals, the programme would be widened to include general international tourists, according to Ms Traisuree.

While the proposal has been welcomed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry as it is seen as the first step to safely reopen Thailand’s tourism to international visitors, security authorities have opposed it due to concerns of a new spike in imported cases as well as a possible new wave of locally transmitted cases.

A recent poll on public opinion about the government’s reopening policy revealed that 54.4% of all 1,116 respondents felt it was not time to welcome international tourists back to the country yet.

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