A network of new Vaccinated Travel Lanes is starting to open up around South East Asia as the government’s find ‘safe’ ways to reopen their borders whilst still maintaining some precautions. The Omicron variant continues to surge in many of the regional Asian countries despite similar surges and declines already over in many countries in the EU, the US, UK and Australia.
The newly announced VTLs still fall well-short of the pre-Covid-freedoms of visas-on-arrival and no pre-approvals for arrival in destination countries. Still, the new VTLs and recently announced travel bubbles are a lurch forward as much of Asia starts to re-open to international travel.
Arrival procedures will differ between the various VTL destination countries and you should check your travel destination for details relating to you and your country of origin before booking tickets. Also, these announcements may be superseded by more recent details in coming days, so check the latest news about travel to your chosen destination before booking. Also, check all arrival procedures for your return journey.
Now, new air Vaccinated Travel Lanes will involve Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia that are set to go into effect from March 15 in joint efforts to reopen their international borders.
Malaysia’s Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong says that the key opportunity for travellers using the Vaccinated Travel Lanes is that people won’t required to quarantine when they arrive in their new destination.
“These routes are expected to aid our mutual economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in reviving the ailing tourism industry.”
In reciprocal arrangements, the partnering governments will be schedule up to six flights daily. In the case of the Malaysia and Thailand arrangement, it will allow 6 flights between KL and Bangkok, and 4 flights between KL and Phuket. He added that the two sides could agree to add additional flights if the demands increased.
For the Cambodian VTL, there would be at least 2 daily flights between KL and Phnom Penh.
Other ASEAN governments are also looking to facilitate VTL routes where travellers from each country won’t be required to quarantine at either end. But a pre-flight PCR test and full vaccination will be required for travellers under the program.
Malaysia currently has both air and land Vaccinated Travel Lanes with Singapore.
And from March 4, Singapore Airlines started operating Vaccinated Travel Lane flights from Phuket to Singapore. Vaccinated travellers who meet the criteria are allowed to arrive in Singapore quarantine free.
Thee are 2 flights daily with Singapore Airlines, all designated as VTL flights. SIA says that flights will increase to 3 flights daily from 27 March 27, 2022 and by April 2022 to 4 flights daily.
SIA already has a VTL service between Bangkok and Singapore since February 1. 3 flights daily are designated as VTL flights between Suvarnabhumi and Changi airports.
This week a travel bubble was approved between Thailand and India. With this arrangement, Indian and Thai airlines are now permitted to operate flights between both countries, but only for selected travellers…
Travelling from India to Thailand
- Nationals/residents of Thailand;
- Any Indian national or national of Nepal or Bhutan travelling to Thailand and holding a valid visa of Thailand. The airlines must ensure that all the passengers meet the requirement for entry before issuance of tickets/boarding passes to the passengers.
- Foreign nationals holding a valid visa for Thailand.
Travelling from Thailand to India
- Indian nationals or nationals of Nepal or Bhutan in Thailand;
- All Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders holding passports of any country, and
- Nationals of Thailand and foreign nations holding a valid Indian visa as per extant guidelines. The airlines must ensure that all the passengers meet the requirement for entry before issuance of tickets/boarding passes to the passengers.
Passengers traveling on flights from India to Thailand should only be heading to Thailand as their end destination. Similarly, only passengers originating from Thailand should be allowed to travel on flights from Thailand to India.
Flights between the two countries are being hammered out at this time.
More information about Malaysia’s travel bubble talks HERE.
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