Thailand to shorten Covid-19 quarantine for visitors to revive tourism

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) – Thailand will reduce the mandatory quarantine period for foreign travellers from next month, but deferred a decision on recognising vaccine certificates for easier global mobility amid a spike in global virus cases.

A panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday (March 19) approved shortening the quarantine to 10 days from two weeks starting April 1, government spokesman Traisuree Taisaranakul told reporters in Bangkok.

The country may stop enforcing quarantine altogether from Oct 1, though the group delayed a decision on an isolation period of seven days for vaccinated tourists as recommended by officials last week, officials said.

A shorter quarantine is expected to make Thailand – famed for its palm-fringed beaches, temples and backpacker culture – more attractive to millions of foreign tourists and is seen as a key step towards a wider reopening.

Tourism-reliant Thailand’s reluctance to fully ease curbs point to the dilemma faced by the authorities in balancing the need to protect people from fresh outbreaks while bolstering economic activities.

The pandemic has devastated Thailand’s tourism industry, which provided more than US$60 billion (S$80.6 billion) in revenue from about 40 million foreign visitors in 2019.

A government campaign to boost travel by locals through hotel and air travel concessions has failed to make up for the slump in earnings.

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