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Thailand eases Covid restrictions for travellers in bid to encourage tourism

Thailand is easing Covid entry requirements for tourists (AP Photo/Salinee Prab, File)
Thailand is easing Covid entry requirements for tourists (AP Photo/Salinee Prab, File)

Thailand is lifting a pre-arrival registration requirement for foreign visitors that was seen as onerous and a drag on the recovery for its ailing tourism industry.

The government’s Covid-19 centre also said on Friday that an outdoor mask mandate would be dropped as of July 1 except in crowded venues. The mask mandate was not controversial in Thailand and generally obeyed.

Thailand began gradually easing entry requirements late last year. But through April, it still required even fully vaccinated travellers to undergo PCR tests upon arrival and stay in a government-approved hotel for one night until the results were known.

Registering for the Thailand Pass required online copies of vaccination documents, insurance policies and other documents to be submitted, after which visitors would receive a QR code for use during travel.

Virus Outbreak Thailand
Thailand’s tourism industry has suffered during the pandemic and the continuing restrictions were seen as onerous (AP Photo/Patrick Quinn, File)

The requirement had already been dropped for Thais and will be dropped for foreign visitors on July 1.

The registration process, beset at times by delays and glitches, was seen as discouraging tourists to Thailand, where the lucrative tourism sector was battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Arriving foreigners must still show proof they have been vaccinated or provide negative Covid-19 test results, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced.

But a requirement to hold an insurance policy has been dropped.

Many countries in Southeast Asia count on tourism as an important source of revenue, and in the past few months have eased their entry requirements.

Thai health officials said on Friday that 1,967 new cases and 19 deaths related to Covid-19 were confirmed in the previous 24 hours. The country has had more than 4.4 million cases and 30,422 fatalities since the pandemic began.