The South China Morning Post reported that on February 23, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha declared that Thailand may scrap mandatory quarantine for foreign visitors vaccinated against Covid-19. The potential change would be a major step to revive the nation’s tourism industry.
Foreigners visiting Thailand who could produce a “vaccine certificate” would be allowed to skip the two-week quarantine currently imposed on all foreign tourists. The government would “track” such tourists in an unspecified way.
On February 24, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn attempted to clarify the Pime Minister’s statement by noting that measures for vaccinated visitors would be introduced “step-by-step” and could include shortening the mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from two weeks to three days for those vaccinated, or waiving it entirely. He also indicated that the TAT plans to begin selling tour packages after April.
Another bit of marginally good news for those willing to put up with a quarantine was that next month five of the most popular tourist provinces will change their quarantine requirements to permit tourists in some hotels to participate in a “hotel area quarantine” where visitors can move around within hotel grounds instead of being strictly confined to their rooms.
In the last few months, Thailand has come up with several ideas and plans for reviving international tourism, which powers 20% of the Thai economy. Substantial differences between what is proposed and what is ultimately implemented, if anything, has often been the way things have turned out so far.
In this case, the basic plan of waiving or severely reducing time in quarantine for tourists who have been vaccinated is sound and one that other countries are also considering. The devil will be in the details as to when the plan would be implemented, the method for “tracking tourists, and what the Thai authorities accept as proof of vaccination.
I hope Thailand adopts quarantine-free arrivals for those who have been fully vaccinated against covid-19. I could live with as much as a three-day quarantine but anything much longer would be a deal breaker.