After months of closed borders, the Kingdom of Thailand has welcomed back its first group of international tourists…41 travelers from Shanghai.
Thailand Reopens To Tourism
These travelers obtained new 90-day visas from Thailand, called STVs or Thailand Special Tourist Visas.
As I shared about earlier this month, these visas are not for stays up to 90 days, but stays of 90 days or more (the visa is extendable to 180 and 270 days). Indeed, the Kingdom is looking for extended visitors, not tourists looking for a weekend in Bangkok or a week in Koh Samui.
The hurdles are high to obtain this visa, including:
- Mandatory 14-day quarantine upon presentation of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival
- Proof of booking a 90+ day stay in Thailand
- The first 14 days must be booked in a government-approved “alternate quarantine” hotel or resort – full list here (.pdf)
- Arriving in Thailand on a chartered flight
- Criminal background check
- At least $100,000 in medical insurance
1,200 visas per month are being offered at a cost of only about $65. Once your 14-day quarantine is over, you are free to move about the country, but your movement will be tracked by mobile phone.
Will Thailand’s New Tourism Plan Work?
I mocked the plan in the past, but I can see Thailand still attracting about 1,200 people per month under this program. Many readers have shared they have second homes in Thailand, where the cost of living is far cheaper and quality of life high.
Long-term, though, I continue to believe that Thailand’s tourism-dependent economy will need short-term visitors. This plan is great for the rich or for pensioners, but I hope we will one day reach a point where a negative COVID-19 test before and after arrival will be enough.
Thailand has re-opened to tourism…every so slightly. It’s a positive sign, to be sure, but the qualifications remain a bit much, particularly a mandatory 14-day quarantine after a negative test and a minimum stay of 90 days. As civil unrest builds momentum, re-opening the nation may be the best policy to defuse protests.
As Thailand reopens to tourism, are you planning a visit?