Tourism to Thailand is increasing, but still has nothing on pre-pandemic levels

As entry restrictions into Thailand continue to ease, tourists are trickling back into the kingdom. Numbers of foreign arrivals are high compared to last year, but numbers are still low when compared with pre-pandemic levels. Tourism is expected to increase further from May 1, when tourists will no longer have to undergo any pre-travel or on-arrival Covid tests, and unvaccinated tourists will be allowed to enter Thailand without quarantine (as long as they can present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their travel to Thailand).

Thailand welcomed (nearly) 40 million tourists in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic brought international travel to a standstill. In the first quarter of 2022, a total of 444,039 foreign tourists entered Thailand, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The figure represents a 2,101% increase of foreign arrivals when compared to the same period in 2021, but remains just a small fraction of the foreign arrivals who flooded into Thailand pre-pandemic.

In 2019 there were nearly 10 million arriving passengers per quarter (3 months) compared to the 444,039 in Q1, 2022.

The increase this year can be attributed to an improved Covid-19 situation worldwide, reopening of borders and the easing of entry requirements into Thailand. The Thailand Pass and Test & Go programmes facilitated international tourism without quarantine to a certain extent, but their complicated processes have been off-putting for potential tourists at the same time.

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From May 1 2022, tourists will no longer be required to take an on-arrival PCR test or book a night in a SHA+ hotel as they did previously. Tourists are still required to sign up for Thailand Pass and upload their vaccination records and evidence of insurance before arriving in the kingdom. Unvaccinated tourists, if they provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to entering Thailand, can enter Thailand without quarantine from May 1.

The changes – announced on Friday by the CCSA – are expected to boost international tourism into Thailand, and the number of flights will increase significantly to facilitate this. In the first three months of 2022, 8,839 flights landed in Thailand. Between April and June, the number of flights is set to increase to 18,934. However, the TAT says that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine may dampen tourism growth.

According to the TAT, most tourists expected to enter Thailand in the next quarter of the year will come from Europe (128,100). Tourists from ASEAN (72,120), Northeast Asia (39,000), the Americas (26,740), South Asia (25,220), the Middle East (23,900), Oceania (20,160) and Africa (6,100) are expected to make up the rest of arrivals entering Thailand between now and the end of June.

SOURCE: Hua Hin Today

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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