Travel businesses told to prep for long stay tourists, with an October kick-start looming


The first round of long-stay tourists on the newly approved visa will be able to enter Thailand by the start of October and the Tourism Ministry is pushing for tourism business to get ready now (get ready for a predicted 1,200 tourists per month?!). On the other hand, not much as been said about the thousands of foreigners who are already here, many of them trying to figure out how to stay in the country.

Whilst the country’s TAT and the ministry of sports and tourism hammered out the arrangements for the new Special Tourist Visa, the online reception has been less than enthusiastic. Many foreigners, hoping to return to Thailand to live, or as tourists, believe the minimum 90 day stay and 14 day quarantine, plus the need to book only on charter flights, remains overly restrictive. Read some more of your comments in our ‘Tower of Babble’ segment HERE.

The Phuket News recently spoke with a local immigration officer who says foreigners currently in Thailand will not be able transfer over to the new long stay tourist visa. The deputy chief of the Phuket Immigration told Phuket News that foreigners who cannot return back home must get a letter from their country’s embassy requesting an extra30 day extension (some immigration officials at other offices around the country may provide different advice).

The new long-stay visa, called a Special Tourist Visa, is expected to help boost Thailand’s tourism dependant economy. Many restaurants, hotels, tour companies and attractions that rely on foreign tourists say they can’t make a profit again until international tourists are let back in the country, without restrictions or 14 day quarantines.

Bangkok will be the first and primary destination since the city already has a variety of state quarantine facilities that has been housing mostly Thai repatriates over the past 3 months. Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says now is the time to start promoting tourist packages.

“Tour operators can start promoting long-stay packages via the Special Tourist Visa to potential customers now, while tourists can contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s overseas office for more information about travel plans using the services of tour operators or Thailand Longstay Company.”

The Special Tourist Visa is good for 90 days. It can be renewed twice, adding up to nearly 9 months. Those who want to enter on the new visa must also go through a 14 day quarantine at a state approved facility upon arrival.

The tourists must also provide necessary documents like their itinerary, proof of payment for state quarantine, accommodation and flight bookings, travel and health insurance, and a certificate confirming they are Covid-19 free. The Foreign Ministry will then issue a “certificate of eligibility” allowing the tourists to travel to Thailand. More details HERE.

“If the visa process can be completed in time, tourists can visit the country by October 1 via chartered flight or private jet.”

The scheme will start with 3 flights each with 100 tourists per week, adding up to 1,200 tourists per month, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Phiphat says many tourists are interests and the flights could end up fully booked for the first month.

“If operations in the first month run smoothly without triggering another outbreak, we aim to increase carrying capacity in the next phase.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Phuket News

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

Visa Information

Leave a Reply

Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply