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Special Tourist Visa program leaves out those from high-risk Covid countries



Thailand’s Foreign Ministry is clarifying that the new Special Tourist Visa program will omit potential high-spend tourists from high-risk Covid countries from consideration. Tourism and Sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says prospective tourists need to check with the Public Health Ministry (via their Thai embassies) to see if their home countries are permitted to visit Thailand under the program.

Phiphat also says that decreasing the mandatory quarantine for these tourists is too soon, as the ministry is waiting to evaluate the first batch of travellers under this new visa to determine whether they can move forward with the 14-7-6 formula in regards to decreased quarantine periods (14 days, 7 days and 6 hours).

“The most important factor is that nobody in local communities will be happy to let foreign tourists visit their towns without quarantine.”

But he says that the tourists being allowed in under the special tourist visa only pose “minor risks as they have to fly in on approved flights to pre-designated locations”.  He says more emphasis should be put on illegal border crossings bringing in possible infections.

Despite delays in the first batch of tourists entering under the visa, the Sports and Tourism Tourism Ministry says they expect 1,200 tourists to enter this month. Such delays were attributed to entry procedures being muddled a bit as the special visa is relatively new, being announced officially in the Royal Gazette on September 29.

Each tourist admitted under the STV, can stay up to 90 days with the option to extend the visa 2 times for 90 days thereafter. The programme targets “rich” tourists as they are expected to stay long-term, or over 2 weeks, due to the mandatory quarantine regulations specifying 2 weeks in an alternative state quarantine hotel.

Each tourist has to provide proof of payment at an Alternative State Quarantine facility, post-quarantine accommodation, health insurance policy with at least a US$100,000 (3 million baht) Covid-19 coverage, as well as a Thai health and accident insurance policy with at least 40,000 baht outpatient and 400,000 baht inpatient coverage.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times


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