Thailand tourism Ministry has announced foreign tourists will be allowed to visit for longer stays from October, a senior official said. This will be a test run as the government tries to revive the tourism industry that has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. The test run will be only for Phuket, Thailand.
Tourists will have to stay for at least 30 days, with the first 14 days in quarantine in a limited vicinity of their hotel, before they can visit other areas, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters.
The announcement comes after authorities suspended plans to create ‘travel bubbles’ with partner countries as the number of coronavirus cases in Asia rose. “On Oct. 1 we will start in Phuket,” Yuthasak said.
Visitors will have to take two coronavirus tests during quarantine before they are able to travel to the rest of the island, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said on Thursday.
Staff will also have to remain in the hotel
Visitors will have to take an additional test and remain within the province for another week before they can travel to other parts of the country.
Thailand has gone nearly three months without a confirmed case of a local COVID-19 transmission. It has recorded over 3,300 cases.
The government’s coronavirus taskforce on Friday extended a state of emergency for another month until the end of September to control the outbreak.
The tourism-reliant economy has been battered by the collapse of global travel as infections spread.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy shrank 12.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the worst contraction since the 1998 Asian crisis due to the pandemic impact.
The country expects to receive 8 million foreign tourists this year. By comparison, it had a record 39.8 million tourists in 2019.
Thailand now 90 days with no local coronavirus cases
Meanwhile, Thailand’s health department announced the country has gone over 90 days without a single local case of Covid-19 coronavirus. All the coronavirus cases have been mainly from Thai returnees, coming home from abroad.
One new coronavirus case was reported on Friday, a man who returned from Singapore.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said the 56-year-old Thai arrived from Singapore on Aug 7 and was in quarantine at a government-provided facility in Chon Buri.
The second test, on Tuesday, had come back positive, although he did not show any symptoms of infection.
The new case took the tally to 3,390.The CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said although the death toll from the disease had remained at 58 since June 2, there was still a chance there would be more deaths from the virus in Thailand.
“In reality, we cannot keep fatalities at zero forever,” he added.
The spokesman confirmed that the CCSA will recommend that cabinet extend the state of emergency for another month after the present period ends on Aug 31.
The extension will be on the agenda at the weekly cabinet meeting at Government House on Tuesday.