BANGKOK — A visa that would allow tourists to visit Thailand during the coronavirus pandemic worldwide may be up and running in October at the earliest, a spokesman for the tourism ministry said Monday.
Some tourism agencies already received a “large amount of requests” from various countries, Ministry of Tourism and Sport spokesman Narit Kanjanopas said of the visa.
“The soonest we can get it running is in October, I can’t say the exact date or which countries will be allowed in yet,” Narit said.
“As far as we know, many people want to come from many countries. It’s up to us to accommodate and work out the steps and process on our side.”
The plan for “Special Tourist Visa” was approved by the Cabinet last week. If implemented, it would allow foreigners from countries without local coronavirus outbreaks to visit Thailand for up to 270 days.
The catch is they must agree to a 14-day quarantine inside a hotel upon their arrival.
There is also a confusion about what other requirements would be involved. Department of Disease Control official Chakrarat Pittayawonganon was quoted as saying the visitors must also have a coronavirus test no more than 72 hours prior to travel, and they must present a record of not visiting crowded places before their departure.
Chakrarat did not say how the authorities would enforce the tourists’ self-isolation at their home countries.
But Narit said today the visa will not involve self-isolation prior to arrival in Thailand.
“They will not need to quarantine while over there, but they need a health certificate from there. Then, they will quarantine for 14 days here,” Narit said.