As China reopens its borders Thailand does not anticipate a sudden influx of Chinese tourists and does not see the need for Covid-19 arrival rules for them, Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul announced yesterday.
Mr. Anutin, who is also a deputy prime minister, stated on Thursday that the number of Chinese arrivals would be limited at first because the Chinese government continues to impose travel conditions, including RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 for both inbound and outbound travelers.
“I would not like any speculation of a huge influx of people from China because that would worry people. “I believe they will come gradually,” he predicted.
Following the government of China’s decision to relax Covid-19 controls, Mr. Anutin stated that officials from the Department of Disease Control, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Ministry of Transport had met every day to discuss appropriate health measures.
He stated that the government of Thailand would not require Chinese visitors to take a Covid-19 test before or after their arrival.
The majority of Chinese people have received at least three doses of Covid-19 vaccine and developed antibodies as a result of Covid-19 infection. Furthermore, the Covid-19 strains found in China and Thailand were identical, according to Mr Anutin.
He stated that Chinese visitors would only have to comply with relevant measures imposed on all arrivals, which would be to purchase health insurance.
According to Mr Anutin, officials planned to give AstraZeneca vaccines to Chinese visitors on a voluntary basis if they had received three shots of Sinovac and wanted to pay for an AstraZeneca booster jab.
Local residents can prepare by getting at least four doses of Covid-19 vaccine, while businesses can implement effective disease controls on their premises, he said.
“Disease control measures will prioritize not only public health but also economic benefits,” Mr Anutin explained.
“We must consider economic issues… Many Thais have been immunized. Infected people have access to medications and hospitals. Arrivals will pose no serious threat. “We will treat Chinese visitors the same as visitors from other countries,” said the health minister.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said on Thursday that he expected Chinese tourists to begin arriving on January 5 and predicted 300,000 in the first quarter of next year, which would help the tourism sector during the low season.
The authority had raised its arrivals target for next year from 20 million to 25 million, but tourism revenue was expected to remain unchanged at 2.4 trillion baht, he said.