Ministry vows Bangkok special tourist visa arrivals by October
The Tourism Ministry has pledged to bring the first batch of international tourists to Thailand by October, with Bangkok as the primary destination, and it wants tourism operators to gear up marketing plans right away.
"Tour operators can start promoting long-stay packages via the special tourist visa (STV) to potential customers now, while tourists can contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand's overseas office for more information about travel plans using the services of tour operators or Thailand Longstay Company," said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
The most important thing is for tourists to provide all required documents regarding their itinerary to Thai consular officials, including payment for alternative state quarantine (ASQ) or alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) facility, post-quarantine accommodation, chartered flights or private jet bookings, Covid-free certificate, and travel and health insurance.
After the Foreign Ministry approves all documents, it will issue a certificate of eligibility (COE) and STV to tourists to let them continue with travel plans.
"If the visa process can be completed in time, tourists can visit the country by Oct 1 via chartered flight or private jet," Mr Phiphat said.
Bangkok is where the first visitors will undergo 14-day quarantine, as the city provides sufficient ASQ facilities that have proved successful in handling foreigners.
During the first stage of reopening, international flights will be limited to three flights a week with 100 tourists per flight or 1,200 tourists per month, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
The number of tourists could reach full capacity in the first month of reopening, as many travellers have already showed intention to re-enter Thailand, Mr Phiphat said.
"If operations in the first month run smoothly without triggering another outbreak, we aim to increase carrying capacity in the next phase," he said.
In terms of domestic tourism, there remains the possibility of extending the timeline of two stimulus campaigns and increasing privileges. The ministry will submit those details to the cabinet next month.
Mr Phiphat said a new stimulus plan aimed at supporting tour packages from tour operators will also be issued, while the delayed fiscal budget will not affect operations at the ministry.
Separately, the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration has developed 81 communities and provided channels to promote new community-based tourism packages with various tourism associations nationwide, including the Association of Domestic Travel and the Association of Thai Travel Agents.
The effort is backed by the Tourism Ministry as part of plans to stimulate local tourism.