Updated entry rules for Thailand get mixed reactions

Thailand will retire the on-arrival quarantine requirement for all travellers today (June 1) and simplify procedures related to the Thailand Pass.

With the change, foreign travellers will need to provide three sets of documents to complete the Thailand Pass procedure – Covid-19 vaccination certificates or test results; a minimum of US$10,000 equivalent of travel insurance that covers medical expenses related to Covid-19; and a copy of a valid passport.

The Thailand Pass is an additional step for travellers entering the country

A Thailand Pass QR code will be auto-generated immediately after registration, which airlines will need prior to issuing boarding passes to travellers.

For Thai returnees, the Thailand Pass application will only function as a pre-arrival registration system.

The general mood in Thailand’s travel and tourism industry is one of relief.

Jon Owen, CEO of Go City, said the latest easing of measures signals Thailand’s “shift towards pre-pandemic travel and normality”.

Jackson Ferguson, vice president of global commerce at S Hotels & Resorts, told TTG Asia that despite May and June being traditionally low-season months, there has been a “significant increase” in last-minute bookings. The encouraging business performance joins a spike in bookings for 3Q2022 and 4Q2022.

However, industry players are impatient to see the back of the Thailand Pass soon.

Ferguson said: “The Thailand Pass is an additional step for travellers to enter the country, and that puts us at a disadvantage to other countries who have no entry regulations.”

Claude Sauter, general manager of The Slate Phuket, agrees. He sees no merit to the updated Thailand Pass regulations, although the removal of quarantine is “good news”.

As Thai returnees account for only 20 per cent of arrivals and carry the same risks of spreading the disease on entry as international travellers, industry players question the relevance of the Thailand Pass as a pandemic control.

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