FTI pushes easing of tourism rules

FTI pushes easing of tourism rules

Group eager for end of Test & Go

Travelers are at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province late last month. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Travelers are at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province late last month. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) wants the government to further relax screening of foreign tourists by abandoning the mandatory Test & Go scheme, quarantine and RT-PCR testing to attract more visitors and restore the pandemic-ravaged tourism industry.

It plans to discuss the proposal with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday.

"Thailand should allow foreign tourists who already received two doses of vaccines to enter the country without going through those screening measures," said Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the FTI.

They should only be required to show "vaccine passports" that prove they are fully vaccinated upon arrival, he said.

Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry, said on Wednesday the ministry will propose the easing of certain pre-travel requirements to a meeting of the CCSA on Friday.

Under the proposed entry rules, travellers under the Test & Go scheme would no longer be required to show negative RT-PCR test results up to 72 hours before departure to the kingdom.

Only an RT-PCR test upon arrival would be needed and an antigen self-test on Day 5, while health insurance coverage for foreign visitors would be reduced from US$50,000 to $10,000, said Dr Kiattiphum.

According to the FTI, Thailand needs to relax screening rules for foreign tourists to assist the tourism industry. The country opened to vaccinated tourists in November 2021.

The domestic economy has turned sluggish since 2020 when the pandemic hit Thailand.

The government set a target to welcome 5-6 million foreign tourists in 2022.

"The high season for tourism lasts until March or April. If the government abandons these measures, it can benefit the tourism sector and help put economic recovery on a fast track," said Mr Supant.

Spending from tourists can help boost economic activities during the high season, he said.

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