Thailand may scrap Test & Go to bring in more visitors

Thailand’s government is considering scrapping the Test & Go entry scheme and Thailand Pass registration next week to attract more visitors and boost the tourism industry.

On Wednesday, Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will present a cancellation proposal in a meeting at the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on April 22, reports Bangkok Post.

The minister added that if the proposal is approved, the changes are expected to go into effect on May 1. It means tourists will be able to enter Thailand using vaccine passports rather than having to wait three to five days for their documents to be approved, as Thailand Pass requires.

Phiphat mentioned that the ministry estimates that at least 10 million tourist arrivals and 1-1.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue are dependent on how each country formulates travel policies at this stage of the pandemic, said the report.

“Thailand is ready to welcome foreign visitors again because our public health system is adequately equipped,” he said.

However, there has been concern about the number of domestic deaths caused by Covid-19, while daily caseloads of infections after Songkran will also be taken into account when the government considers further reopening the country to tourists,” he added.

Since November, restrictions have been gradually eased to revitalise the tourism sector.

From April 1, the country’s government removed the requirement for a pre-travel RT-PCR test for air travellers arriving under its Test & Go, Sandbox, and quarantine programmes, the report also said.

RT-PCR tests on arrival for foreign travellers are expected to be replaced by antigen tests from May.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn stated that over 100,000 hotel rooms have been booked during Songkran under the government’s “We Travel Together” hotel subsidy scheme.

The scheme’s fourth phase, designed to encourage domestic travel, will end on May 31, and the government will consider extending it if hotel operators agree.

Thailand’s tourism industry will help the country achieve an economic turnaround this year, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a Facebook post.

Since last July, film production teams from 33 countries have reached Thailand to make more than 196 movies, generating more than 4.2 billion baht in revenue for the country, he said.

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