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Thailand abolishes PCR test for vaccinated tourists from May 1

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) confirmed on Friday April 22 that the requirement for fully vaccinated tourists to undergo a PCR test upon arrival would be waived effective May 1.

Currently, foreign tourists and Thais coming from abroad are required to take an RT-PCR test even if they are vaccinated against Covid-19, and wait for the result in a quarantine hotel for 24 hours.

From May 1 the PCR test will be replaced by a much cheaper and much faster antigen test, and it will no longer be necessary to wait for the result in a quarantine hotel.

Update: April 23: In the latest TAT update, the need for antigen testing is not mentioned….

This is the official end of the “Test and Go” program started in November, and which has undergone many changes since.

Required insurance coverage will also be halved to $10,000, the CCSA said.

The Thailand Pass maintained

The Thailand Pass will be maintained but should be much easier and quicker to obtain because it will only be used to check the applicant’s vaccination status and his insurance certificate.

For unvaccinated people: the PCR test remains mandatory

Non-vaccinated travelers can travel to Thailand but they will have to present a PCR test either before departure (without quarantine), or during a 5-day quarantine to be carried out at their own expense in an AQ-approved hotel.

1. Quarantine exemption

Travelers must present a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours of travel should take the following steps:

  • Registration on the Thailand Pass
  • Attach required documents including passport, COVID-19 RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours before travel
  • Attach proof of insurance with coverage of at least USD 10,000 for medical treatment in Thailand (for non-Thais only)

(No COVID-19 test after arrival in Thailand is required)

2. With 5 days quarantine

Travelers who cannot submit an RT-PCR test result within 72 hours of travel or wish to quarantine should take the following steps:

  • Registration on the Thailand Pass
  • Attach required documents including passport, confirmation from Alternative Quarantine (AQ) hotel for 5 days (including 1 RT-PCR test)
  • Attach proof of insurance with coverage of at least USD 10,000 for medical treatment in Thailand (for non-Thais only)
  • Take RT-PCR test on days 4-5 in Thailand during mandatory 5-day quarantine at AQ hotel

The tourism sector and hotel operators had repeatedly asked the government to abolish this requirement, which pushes tourists to travel to countries that do not require additional tests.

The easing of entry restrictions to Thailand comes despite a relatively high number of COVID-19 cases, a sign that the government is desperate to boost tourism, which accounted for almost 20% of its gross domestic product in 2019 before COVID. .

Thailand received only around 700,000 foreign tourists in 2021, a drop of more than 98% from the 39 million foreign tourists recorded in 2019 before the pandemic.

Thailand red lantern tourism in Southeast Asia

Because two years after the sudden halt to tourism in Southeast Asia due to the pandemic, travelers are taking to the plane again: reservations by international airlines to Southeast Asia have reached 38% of the levels from before the pandemic at the end of March, according to the consultant ForwardKeys, quoted by Reuters.

Singapore and the Philippines saw strong growth in bookings: Data from ForwardKeys shows that bookings for Singapore and the Philippines were at 72% and 65% of 2019 levels, respectively, while Thailand was just 24 %.

These two countries now require vaccinated travelers to only take a rapid antigen test before arrival, while Thailand’s more complicated requirements (a PCR test accompanied by an overnight quarantine, plus an antigen test on the 5th day ) discouraged tourists.

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