While many governments are still advising against ‘non-essential’ international travel, some of the most popular holiday destinations are starting to ease their lockdown restrictions, and opening borders to allow tourists once more.
At the start of July, the EU announced it would be reopening its external borders to 15 countries outside of the Union to help boost the tourism and travel industry. The list of countries includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
If you’re itching to get away this year and got your sights set on Thailand, here’s a guide on what to expect.
Thailand has long been a favourite destination for travellers, receiving nearly 40 million foreign visitors every year. But tourists have been banned from the Southeast Asian country since March due to the pandemic.
While Thailand has had very few cases in comparison to other destinations - over 3,000 confirmed cases, and 50 fatalities - Thai officials are remaining cautious when it comes to reopening their borders.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) stated that it was all still very dependent on the current situation, but it could be the fourth quarter of 2020 before they welcome back holidaymakers.
He added that there would be limitations on who is allowed to visit the country, and which regions they would be able to visit once the COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
“We are not going to open all at once,” he added. “We are still on high alert, we just can’t let our guards down yet. We have to look at the country of origin [of the travellers] to see if their situation has truly improved.”
This means that it is unlikely that Thailand will open its borders to tourists from destinations that have not managed to get the pandemic situation under control.
It is possible that those travellers who get permission to enter the country may be offered ‘long-stay packages’ in more isolated areas where their health can be monitored, such as the remote islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) lifted a ban on international flights from 1 July, provided certain conditions are met.
On July 1, a ban on international flights was lifted by The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) provided certain conditions are met. Business travellers and those seeking medical treatment in Thailand are among those now permitted to enter the country.
The pandemic and the lack of foreign tourists means that visitor numbers in Thailand will drop by 65 per cent to around 14 million this year, according to TAT, but like many other countries, Thailand has been concentrating on domestic tourism.
Some resorts and hotels have already been given the go-ahead to reopen — Hua Hin, located about 200 kilometres (124 miles) south of Bangkok, being one of them.
Shopping malls, museums, markets and some tourist attractions have also been reopening their doors, with Bangkok’s Grand Palace having already resumed business on 4 June.
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