Thailand loosens up for foreign tourists

Thailand announced on Monday it was gradually scrapping the mandatory quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, sending tourism-related shares rallying over hopes of a continuing economic recovery.

In a televised broadcast, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that the relaxed restriction will begin on November 1 for fully vaccinated travelers arriving from low-risk countries such as Singapore, Germany, China and the US.

However, the government would still require a proof of a negative RT-PCR test result to be able to enter Thailand.

In addition, the prime minister also expects to consider lifting the ban on alcoholic beverages in restaurants.

“By December 1, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues,” he was quoted as saying in a report by Bangkok Post.

Following the announcement, business sentiment rose for the first time in six months, with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) sentiment index clocking in at 79.0 in September from only 76.8 in the month prior.

An index projecting business sentiment over the next three months also climbed to 93.0 in September from only 90.9 registered in August, fueled by hopes over the continuous vaccine rollout and the resumption of school year.

“After the relaxation of curbs, industries sentiment quickly bounced back and we believe tourism businesses will start moving,” FTI Chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree was quoted as saying.

“Thailand remains an attractive destination for travel and other investment,” he said, adding that welcoming more international travelers was necessary to revive a key industry that generally accounts for more than 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

As with other emerging economies, Thailand is a heavily reliant country on tourism.

According to FTI, the government should further relax restrictions and introduce additional measures to boost consumption while helping provide liquidity to businesses.

The FTI said it was projecting the economy to grow between zero to 1 percent this year, after last year’s 6.1 percent contraction.


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