Special Tourist Visa – now officials want you to ‘quarantine’ in your home country before coming to Thailand

On one hand the Thai government unveils its big ‘plan’ for a Special Tourist Visa, allowing minimum stays of 90 days, extendable to 270 days (almost 9 months). On the other hand they have put up a list of restrictions that, at best, will severely restrict any return to ‘normal’ tourism in the country.

Apart from the local 14 day quarantine when they arrive, at their cost, there’s also a long list of paperwork they need to submit before being able to travel to Thailand. Then there’s the limitation to travelling to Thailand only on chartered flights or private jet. And once they’re out of quarantine, the tourists’ options are quite limited for now with the usual tourist spots of Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Samui mostly closed up with no tours in operation and most tourism-related businesses shuttered – a real ‘chicken and egg’ quandary for tourism officials.

Now, according to a report in Bangkok Post, Dr Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, a director at the Department of Disease Control, claims that foreign tourists will have to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to travel. Additionally… “they must also have quarantined in their country of origin, have health insurance for international travel and a specified minimum amount of money in their bank account”. He said they will also need a record of “not visiting crowded places prior to their departure”.

And during their domestic quarantine these “visitors must have been tested twice for Covid-19 at the beginning and end of the process”.

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The Department of Disease Control has also said, broadly, that they will only allow people from “low-risk” countries to enter Thailand first, without specifying or providing a list of what those countries would be.

The department says they are also providing specific training for the general public and government officers “whose jobs place them in contact with foreign travellers”, so these STV tourists can probably expect an extra special socially-distanced and masked welcome.

Meanwhile, the Public Health ministry has revealed that 2,270 foreign tourists, from China, Myanmar, Japan and Kuwait, are already planning to visit Thailand under the provisions of the new Special Tourist Visa.

On September 15, the Thai cabinet agreed to allow in foreign tourists who agree to the mandatory 14 day quarantine with a minimum 90 day stay, extendable twice to a maximum of 270 days. The highly restrictive new visa, whilst at least a start, has not been well received.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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