In an effort to sustain its economic recovery, Thailand plans to end mandatory pre-travel registration for foreign tourists, reversing the last of the bans in place during the pandemic years.
Thailand’s main Covid-19 task force is expected to consider scrapping the Thailand Pass requirement at its meeting on June 17, Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told reporters on Thursday. He said the move would take effect next month with the support of the Health Ministry.
This pandemic has plagued our country for so long, Phiphat said. Our tourism industry needs to be fully restored in order for our economy to grow. Removing the Thailand Pass will make it easier for tourists to visit.”
The Thailand Pass, which allows Covid-negative visitors free movement in the country and waiver of quarantine on arrival, requires foreign nationals to upload vaccination details and proof of medical insurance prior to departure.
The Thai travel and leisure industry has called for the cancellation of the registration program, saying it discourages potential travelers. Thailand’s tourism-related sector accounted for about a fifth of its economy and jobs before the pandemic, with almost 40 million overseas visitors in 2019.
Travelers from nearly all countries eligible before the pandemic will be able to apply for visas upon arrival, with one exception: those still dealing with Covid outbreaks, Phiphat said.
In the wake of lifting restrictions on foreign arrivals, Thailand, the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, is expected to surpass its latest target of attracting 1 million tourists a month by October.
Thailand allowed some bars, pubs, and karaoke clubs to reopen earlier this month, ending a more than year-long closure. Local Covid cases have eased, and tourism-dependent countries are scrambling to draw tourists once again.
According to Phiphat, Thailand will also delay the imposition of a 300 baht ($9) entry fee for those arriving via air travel. It will take time for the government to decide whether and how to charge visitors crossing land borders, he said.