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Thailand May Fully Reopen by January 2022

Finally, Thailand can start getting ready for reopening. This view has been expressed by its Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. The country may abandon quarantine measures by January 2022 if the vaccination efforts succeed.

According to The Bangkok Post, the minister has cited herd immunity as the primary condition, noting that reopening has already been postponed. It was rescheduled from October to November as too many residents have not received their second dose of the vaccine yet.

Early Reopening

The pandemic brought an abrupt halt to international travel, causing a substantial contraction in economic activity. Many residents, particularly those related to the sector, became jobless. The population turned to remote income streams — for example, by choosing to download MT4 and work from home. Now, the country may finally be ready to start rebuilding its tourism flows. 

Two provinces are set to be reopened on October 1. These are Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin). As for Phetchaburi, it will be reopened on the same day if the officials speed up the deployment of standard operating procedures.

Wider Reopening from October 15

On that day, 25 other provinces are set to reopen. They will be part of the 7+7 scheme — an extension of stay for travelers who have been in particular locations for seven days. If the vaccination efforts go smoothly, it will be provided in:

  • Phuket, 
  • Samui, 
  • Chiang Mai, 
  • Chon Buri, 
  • Prachuap Khiri Khan, 
  • Phetchaburi, and 
  • Bangkok. 

The minister has noted that the officials will approach the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration with this list in order to plan timely allocation of vaccines. If some parts of the island fail to achieve the required vaccination rate, sealed route schemes could be used instead of complete re-opening. According to Phiphat, the government can reopen safe areas for local tourists on November 1. 

Meanwhile, international travelers are expected to enjoy a quarantine-free stay starting from January 2022. This will be made possible thanks to the so-called travel bubbles. These are corona corridors with neighboring countries, which are expected to be opened on January 15. The country will use its exclusive partnerships with states that have been successful in containing and combating the pandemic. 

Key Challenge

Due to its high infection rates, Thailand has ended up on the red list in many countries. The minister has acknowledged this as a challenge, but also hopes that the current decline in coronavirus rates will help. Thailand may be removed from such lists in a few weeks: 

“As Thailand is still recording daily caseloads of more than 10,000 and was downgraded to the red list for some target markets, the number of tourists this year might not exceed 300,000. However, if Thailand can return to the safe list this month, there are promising signs that in the last quarter we can hope for 1.2 million travelers.”

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