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Thailand Eases Entry Rules For Tourists, Scraps Outdoor Mask Policy

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Thailand Eases Entry Rules For Tourists, Scraps Outdoor Mask Policy

(CTN News) – In response to a slower spread of COVID-19, Thailand announced on Friday it would abandon its much-criticized pre-registration process for foreign visitors and no longer require face masks to be worn in public.

Tourism Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan told reporters that the “Thailand Pass” system, which requires foreign tourists to seek prior approval from Thai authorities, will cease from July 1.

Thailand has Welcomed Over 1.4 Million Tourists Since January

Thai tourism is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, but tourism businesses have long complained that foreigners are required to submit multiple documents – from vaccination and swab test certificates to medical insurance and hotel bookings – limiting the sector’s recovery.

Thailand received nearly 40 million visitors in 2019 but received less than 1% of this number last year despite easing its quarantine requirements.

While tourism has improved in recent months, the industry is far from recovering, with huge job losses and business losses in a sector that typically accounts for about 12% of Thailand’s GDP.

The Coronavirus task force said on Friday that the use of face masks will be voluntary from next month but that those in crowded areas or with health conditions should wear them.

More than 30,000 people have died in Thailand from COVID-19, but the outbreaks have largely been contained thanks to a vaccination rate of more than 80%.

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