If you missed Thailand, now’s your chance to visit them again – if you can afford it, that is.
Thailand has now lifted entry restrictions to all foreigners. Under the newly amended Special Tourist Visa (STV) long stay programme, tourists can visit Thailand regardless of their country’s Covid-19 situation.
To do so, tourists must comply with a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Earlier in the year, the Thailand Government had implemented stricter policies to restrict tourists in Thailand. However, this new policy will essentially be a “U-turn” for any previous policies they have implemented.
This was a move to help the tourism industry, which the local economy relies on.
Last year, Thailand welcomed almost 40 million foreign visitors. Tourism also accounted for an estimated more than 10 percent of the local GDP.
Under the initial STV, Thailand first welcomed tourists back in October.
Initially, visitors were required to stay in Thailand for at least 30 days. They were then issued visas which lasted for 90 days that could be renewed twice.
Once visitors arrived in Thailand, they were also required to stay in government-approved quarantine facilities such as hotels or hospitals for 14 days. They also needed to show confirmation that they arranged for a long stay in Thailand. Visitors also needed to go for testing prior to their departure and have special insurance policies.
While in the country, they were required to download an official app (think: TraceTogether) to track the entire duration of their stay. At the airport, three thermal scans were conducted as well.
Now, there’s a change.
Previously, STVs were only offered to tourists in low-risk countries. However, the strict guidelines that followed seemed to have deterred tourists from visiting Thailand anyway.
The first wave of STVs only saw a total of 825 tourists from 29 countries. Six luxury yachts also docked in Thailand.
Not exactly a number that’ll improve the economy.
According to deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek, the cabinet agreed to extend the stay period for yacht visitors. With an additional 30 days, yacht visitors can now stay in Thailand for up to 60 days.
This is not the only cabinet decision to revive tourism.
The Bangkok Post also reported that the Interior Ministry is seeking approval to extend visa exemptions for tourists from 56 countries. This extension would be 15 days more, totalling to 45 days instead of the initial 30 days.
The visa exemptions will be given to three different groups of countries. The first group is made up of 56 countries and territories, all which are allowed to stay in Thailand for 30 days under the visa exemption scheme.
The second group is made up of six countries and territories that have made bilateral agreements with Thailand. This means they can stay in Thailand for no more than 30 days. The six include: Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Russia and Vietnam
The last group is made up of four countries which have also made bilateral agreements with Thailand, and can stay for up to 90 days. The four include: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.
Visa exemptions will not be granted for visitors from Myanmar and Cambodia.
As they have implemented the mandatory 14-day quarantine in Thailand, visas on arrival will be suspended from 30 December.
With the new and improved STV, perhaps Thailand will see more tourists in the next few months.
If you were hesitant to go to Thailand due to the strict guidelines, now is the chance for you to reconsider a trip there.
Here’s to authentic Pad Thai and all the good Thai food.
If you can afford to take months of leave and pay for any COVID-19 treatment cost, that is.
Featured Image: Cat Box / Shutterstock.com
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