Covid-19: Thailand announces end to mandatory screening tests to boost tourism

A tourist arrives at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, November 1, 2021. AP - Sakchai Lalit

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The Thai government announced this Friday, March 18, the end of Covid screening tests on boarding for fully vaccinated foreign tourists.

A new measure which is part of a series of lifting of health restrictions started last November in order to revive a tourist sector heavily affected by the health crisis.

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From April 1, tourists with a full vaccination certificate will no longer be required to undergo a PCR test before boarding a flight to Thailand, but a check will nevertheless be carried out at the arrival.

For the past few months, the Thai authorities have been relaxing the rules to attract foreign visitors and revive the tourist industry, ravaged by the pandemic.

Fully vaccinated tourists no longer had to observe, as part of the “

Test and Go

” program, a

one-week quarantine

, nor to submit to screening on the 1st to and 5th day of the stay.

Today it is the turn of the “

Sandbox

” program to be also deleted.

The suspension of the scheme, which required even vaccinated visitors to stay for a week in an approved hotel and province, before they could travel to the rest of the country, had been backed by the Federation of Industries of Thailand, which pushed the government to add this new exemption. 

Lift restrictions to ease the tourism industry

Thailand is currently registering around 25,000 new Covid cases a day as the Omicron variant spreads across the country, but authorities hope that number will decrease so that it can move into a "

post-pandemic

" phase from July.

Travel restrictions had kept Thailand largely immune to the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic, but have since plunged a tourism industry crucial to the country's economy into crisis.

But hotels, restaurants and all players in tourism, a sector which represents 20% of the country's GDP, have begged the government to go further and faster to encourage visitors to return to the beaches and resorts of the country. kingdom.

The country hopes to welcome 5 to 6 million foreign tourists this year.

A figure far from the 40 million arrivals in 2019.

► To read also: Thailand reopens its doors to tourists after more than a year and a half of closure

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  • Thailand

  • Coronavirus

  • Tourism

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