Thailand after months of COVID-19 restrictions, allowed Indian tourists to visit the country. According to a media report on 1 November, the government allowed fully vaccinated tourists from 17-countries, including India to enter Thailand, without any quarantine.
Earlier on 21 October, the Tourism ministry had allowed tourists from 40-odd low risk countries to visit the South East Asian country. However, all tourists will have to undergo COVID-19 test upon arrival.
Following the outbreak of pandemic, the Thai government had imposed restrictions on international tourists for almost 18 months.
Thailand, known for its pristine beaches and buzzing nightlife, however, continues to report about 10,000 COVID cases per day. The country heavily relies on tourism for income generation and revenue. It is reported that about 40 million visitors visit the country each year. The pandemic restrictions severely affected the tourism industry.
The Tourism Ministry has launched something called “Sandbox scheme,” depending on the colour of the sandbox, regulations are outlined. Tourists arriving from low-risk countries such as India under the scheme can stay in government approved hotels and resorts in 17 tourist locations (Blue Sandbox), such as Krabi, Phuket, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai. After spending seven days in such designated hotels, they can travel all around freely like locals.
Other designated destinations are Trat, Buri Ram, Prachup Khiri Khan, Phang Nga, Phetchaoburi, Rangnong, Rayong, Loei, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, Nong Khai, and Udon Thani.
Tourists from India will require to spend 7 days in these listed places, before moving to other destinations.
There are no night curfews in these 17 tourist locations.
The capital Bangkok is yet to open for tourists.
For Indian tourists, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations, including for destination weddings. Thailand is also a popular destination for young Indians.
Tourists from other countries are allowed to enter but they will have to mandatorily undergo quarantine.
Covid cases in Thailand was under control in the initial days of the pandemic, however the third wave was worst as cases spiked sharply. Number of COVID cases are witnessing a downward spiral since August 2021, with increase in vaccination drive. According to a media report, as many as 42 percent Thai people have been vaccinated so far.
The government hopes to see about 300,000 tourists, in November and December.
The move is likely to boost the tourism sector. There are reports that hotels, resorts have resumed hiring. The officials believe, pre-pandemic level of tourist flow is likely by January 2022.