Pack your bags, because it looks like Thailand borders will be opening up again.

Thanks to Coronavirus, it’s been a drab two years for travel and tourism. One of the countries that felt the brunt of this is Thailand. Like most countries around the globe, the nation’s once-lucrative tourism sector has hit the pause button due to travel restrictions.

But starting 1 November 2021, the kingdom reopens its doors to vaccinated travellers from over 40 countries. The good news is that Singapore is on the list too.

Here’s what you need to know, if you’re planning on taking a trip.

Tourism Rebound

Before the pandemic struck, Thailand attracted a record high of almost 40 million visitors in 2019, with tourists flocking to its island beaches and cultural hotspots. Travellers fell to around seven million in 2020 after virus restrictions seized up global travel, while only around 73,000 international visitors have so far flown into Thailand in 2021.

The country saw some of the largest losses in the world in the tourism industry, with revenues dropping from US$63.75 billion in 2019 to US$11 billion in 2020. The cashcow industry directly and indirectly contributes 18 percent of the country’s economy, which contracted in 2020 by 6.1 percent — its worst performance in more than two decades.

The impact reverberated across different sectors, including the restaurant industry and transportation, slashing more than 3 million jobs out of 4.03 million.

Countries On The List

From 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated travellers from 46 countries and territories that Thailand deems “low risk” will be allowed to enter without going through quarantine.

The giants on the list are China — which accounted for the lion’s share of the kingdom’s pre-pandemic visitor total — and its territory Hong Kong, as well as the United States, Britain, and France.

A slew of other European countries are on the list too — such as Germany, Spain and Italy — while some Asian neighbours like Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Japan are also included.

All travellers must have a negative Covid test before flying into Thailand, and get re-tested upon arrival. They must also book a single night in a government-approved hotel as they wait for the test results.

Is It Safe?

So far, Thailand has registered more than 1.8 million cases and 18,865 deaths — the bulk of them detected after the highly contagious Delta variant emerged in April. The country is still reporting about 10,000 new cases per day. Authorities aim to have 70 percent of the population jabbed by the end of the year. So far, about 40 percent of Thais have been fully vaccinated.

Influx Of Tourists

Authorities expect 1 million tourists to touch down in Thailand by March 2022, and revenues are expected to surpass US$30 billion for the whole of next year.

But many in the industry do not expect a real return to normalcy until at least 2024. They point to China — the biggest source of visitors — still requiring returnees to undergo a strict quarantine, which is expected to discourage foreign travel. The United States also still has a travel alert out for Thailand, advising Americans to avoid the country due to high Covid infection numbers.

This article was published via AFP.

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