Monday, March 1, 2021

Thailand to start long-term tourist visas next month, with conditions

Country will remain closed to most foreign tourists.

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Thailand slammed shut its international borders to foreign tourists at the start of the pandemic and its economy is hurting because of their absence.

The Thai government has now agreed to allow in a few selected foreign tourists provided they undergo a 14-day quarantine and stay for at least 90 days, reports the Bangkok Post.

This is a measure to bolster the Thai economy in a way that will not jeopardise the health of citizens.

“Visitors can arrive for tourism or health services, and they can stay at alternative state quarantine facilities, specific areas or at hospitals that function as quarantine facilities,” said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul said visitors would have to present proof of payment for their long stay in the country. This could be payment for a hotel reservation, or the lease of a condominium.

Tourists would be able to extend their 90-day special visas twice, for another 90 days each time.

Long-stay visitors could begin arriving as soon as next month, Traisulee said.

“The target is to welcome 100-300 visitors a week, or up to 1,200 people a month, and generate income of about 1 billion baht a month.”

Prasong Poontaneat, finance permanent secretary, said the country needs to generate income from visitors, especially those from countries where coronavirus has not been spreading in recent months.

At the moment, such countries would include China, Taiwan and some European countries, although that number is decreasing as a second wave of infections surges across Europe.

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