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Thailand to drop all Covid-19 travel restrictions from Saturday

Flickr/Charlie Owen

All remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions will be dropped in Thailand from October 1 and the longstanding and repeatedly extended emergency decree will also become a thing of the past. Arriving passengers will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result in order to enter the kingdom.

The changes are the result of Thailand downgrading the virus to “a communicable disease under surveillance” from October 1. It was previously classified as “a dangerous communicable disease”.

The country has also extended the period of stay for visitors who are visa-exempt, from 30 days to 45, although this rule is currently temporary, expiring on March 31, 2023. For visa-on-arrival passengers, you can get an automatic 30 days instead of 15.

Santi Sawangcharoen, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York office, says that by ditching all remaining restrictions, Thailand is making it easier for foreign tourists to visit.

“We’re hopeful that easing the arrival process will encourage travellers to plan their visits, resulting in a resurgence in Thailand’s tourism. The ‘Land of Smiles’ is eager and excited to welcome travellers to experience all the beloved destinations across Thailand just as easily as they used to.”

Thailand has officially been open to foreign travellers since July 2021, when Phuket launched the sandbox programme, which was eventually extended to other tourist destinations. The arrival of the highly-contagious Omicron variant led to a temporary tightening of restrictions, followed by the introduction of the Test and Go quarantine-free entry system for fully vaccinated travellers.

Thailand now joins a growing list of countries around the world that are ditching all remaining pandemic-related travel restrictions, including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Hong Kong has recently relaxed some rules, reducing mandatory hotel quarantine to 3 days. However, the territory, along with China, still has some of the harshest travel restrictions in the world, driven by Beijing’s ongoing adherence to a zero-Covid strategy.

SOURCE: Travel + Leisure

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