Thailand News Update | Thailand cuts quarantine time

Starting April 1, that’s next Friday, the mandatory quarantine period for unvaccinated travellers entering Thailand will be reduced to five days.International travellers will also no longer need to take a pre-travel PCR Covid-19 test. The new requirements are pending publication in the Royal Gazette and the official announcement is expected to be published before the end of the month. But you can assume it will definitely happen. Unvaccinated travellers can enter Thailand under the Alternative Quarantine scheme where they still have to isolate in an approved hotel and tested for Covid before they are released. Prior to the revised rules, unvaccinated travellers faced a 10-day quarantine… after April 1 that will be reduced to just 5 days. Those who have been vaccinated for at least 14 days before travel, with a vaccine approved by the government or World Health Organisation, can enter the country through the Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme or Sandbox scheme. Before flying to Thailand, travellers must apply for a Thailand Pass QR code through the official website run by the Department of Consular Affairs. Yep, it’s slowly getting easier but you’ll still have the Thailand Pass for a few more months at least.

The confusion over what you can and can’t do, officially, for this year’s Songkran, still continues. Now the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says they’re going consider next Monday whether to allow water-splashing activities to be held on Khao San Road. The move comes after business operators in the popular backpacker and tourist area, and tourist spots in other provinces such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya, yesterday submitted a joint petition to the CCSA asking it to ease the ban, specially on water splashing activities. The CCSA previously agreed that the annual celebrations could proceed provided there was no alcohol or water splashing at organised events. People, instead, were encouraged to engage in traditional activities without water splashing. Business operators along Khao San Road complained the measure would cause them to lose income for a third Songkran in a row. On operator in Khao San Road said… they want to explain to the government that the country is trying to welcome tourists back, particularly in the summer when the Songkran festival will be held. He said… “We ask the government to allow the activity on April 12-15 to promote the festival.”In Chiang Mai, which is being reclassified by the CCSA as a blue zone, and suitable for promoting tourism from April 1, local business operators say they’re busy preparing for an influx of tourists over Songkran, with or without water splashing activities.

Bangkok officials are working on a project to improve the city’s sidewalks and footpaths, to make them more functional and safer for those with disabilities and the elderly. They’re looking to add ramps for wheelchair users as well as braille blocks in the pavement tiles, for the vision impaired, also known as tactile paving. The footpaths are also going to widened in the pilot area to be at least 2.4 metres wide. The project will initially focus on just over 2 kilometres of Rama I Road and is expected to be completed by the end of April. The new improvements will then serve as a model for other busy areas in Bangkok.Running from the Ratchaprasong Intersection near the big Central World and Erawan Shrine, down to the Pathum Wan Intersection by Siam Discovery, the project will include all the areas in front of the popular shopping centres as well as the busy area under the Siam BTS station, the largest and busiest Skytrain station in Bangkok.

The future of casinos in Thailand might be marketed toward foreign travellers. A government committee discussing the legalisation of gambling, which has been long practised by Thais behind closed doors anyway, is discussing the possibility of opening the first casino in Bangkok and then expanding to other casinos in other tourist destinations.But officials are considering making entry rules far more strict for Thais than for foreigners as a way to offset fears over the casinos and problems with gambling addiction for Thais. Talks by a special government committee, which was recently set up to discuss opening casino complexes, are still in the early stages and still need to be formalised by the committee before any approvals are made. Under the discussed measures, it won’t be that easy for Thais to get in. Foreigners, on the other hand, will be welcomed into the casino as long as they show their passports. But for Thai gamblers, they’d need to show their identity card, career information, source of income, financial status, saving account details, a bank statement and their credit history. The casino complex would also have a minimum age limit and entry fee.The head of a break-off group for the casino committee told Thai media that Bangkok and the surrounding areas would make suitable locations for a casino with the convenience of airports, expressways, motorways, and a variety of accommodations. Other locations will be popular tourist destinations in border provinces near immigration checkpoints to serve foreign gamblers.

Thailand’s condo market saw a modest improvement in 2021, but the overall “sentiment” remained lower than in pre-Covid years with a lack of foreign buying power. A report has been released, measuring the pandemic’s effect on the country’s economy, customer confidence, spending power and oversupply of current stock. The CBRE report found that fewer international investors coming into Thailand has compounded the situation. Foreign buyers, who make up a significant portion of the downtown market, were reportedly unable to travel to buy units, or lacked the confidence to buy off plans digitally as they had done previously. Notably, in 2021 there were a total of 137,710 expatriates in Thailand, a 3.7% decrease year on year, while the number of expats living in Bangkok decreased by 4.3% year on year. The drop in Japanese and Chinese expatriates, the largest expat communities in Thailand, and mostly working in the Thai automotive sector, also decreased over the past 2 years. But newly-announced properties in both the city and suburban areas of Bangkok has signaled minor improvement by the last quarter of 2021. Regardless, the general outlook remained subpar, according to the report, with various developments delayed or stopped due to factors such as financial viability, project positioning and waiting for market improvement.

An endangered tiger known as ‘Thanakorn’ who lived in a national park in the northern province of Uthai Thani has died at age nine. The news was posted yesterday on Thailand Tiger Project’s Facebook page. On Tuesday evening, Thailand Tiger Project received an electronic notification saying “expiration detected” linked to an ID number belonging to Thanakorn the tiger. The team weren’t sure what the message meant and thought it might mean that the tiger’s electronic collar had come loose or malfunctioned. The next morning, the team went out to look for the tiger at Huai Kha Khaeng National Park and found that Thanakorn had died. The lifespan of a tiger in the wild is usually around eight to ten years in the wild.Apparently, Thanakorn was a very stubborn tiger who wouldn’t let anyone go near him. The team said they had to “flirt” with the tiger for two years before they were able to get close enough to attach his electronic collar. Tracking Thanakorn with an electronic collar was mutually beneficial for the tiger and the team. The team were notified anytime the tiger left the conservation area so they could employ officers to look out for and protect him.At the same time, the collar provided the team with a lot of information which has helped them to understand more about the animal and their daily feeding habits. The total number of Indochinese tigers, which is the main tiger species in Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, is thought to be as low as 180 – 250 now.

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