With other countries opening their borders, Thailand has brought forward plans to open up tourism and medical tourism. It is planning to open for fully vaccinated tourists and medical tourists from 10 selected countries.
From November 1, Thailand plans to open to fully vaccinated tourists and medical tourists from China, Germany, Singapore, the UK and the USA. The other five countries are still to be declared.
Inbound travellers from these countries will no longer have to isolate on arrival. All that visitors will need to do is show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and then do a test in Thailand, after which they will be free to move around in the same way that any Thai citizen can do.
The list of countries eligible for quarantine waiver will be further expanded from December 1, as long as there is no resurgence in the outbreak.
Just over 70,000 visitors came into the country in the first eight months of this year, compared with 40 million in the whole of 2019.
The plan will see foreigners travel to Thailand quarantine-free for the first time in 18 months.
It accelerates the timetable for opening up Thailand to foreign visitors. Under the timetable, the government planned to open only the capital Bangkok and a handful of provinces, including Chonburi, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan in the south and Chiang Mai in the north, for foreign tourists on November 1. That reopening will now cover all parts of the country.
Shaped by new consumer priorities since the pandemic, wellness tourism is on the rise, which could be a further opportunity for Thailand. A study by the luxury travel market analysts ILTM suggests that Asia-Pacific travellers are not only searching for wellness-orientated trips in the region, but everywhere they go. According to the research, Asia-Pacific high-net worth (HNW) travellers spend US$2.4 billion on wellness activities on their trips, compared to US$9.6 billion among global HNW travellers. Chinese international travellers were found to spend US$1.7 billion annually on wellness activities.