Thailand welcomes long-term tourists

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

Thailand on Tuesday has approved the entry of foreign tourists who will agree to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

According to a report by the Bangkok Post, the plan was in line with helping revive the economy that was heavily dampened by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the government will issue special tourist visas for long-term visitors or those who will stay in Thailand for at least 90 days.

“Visitors can arrive for tourism or health services, and they can stay at alternative state quarantine facilities, specific areas or at hospitals that function as quarantine facilities,” he was quoted as saying.

“Our public health system is amongst the best in the world and people can have confidence in it,” he added.

However, long-term visitors would have to present a proof of payment for their long-term stay in Thailand such as payment for a hotel reservation, or the lease of a condominium room.

With the new initiative, Thailand is targeting to welcome between 100 to 300 visitors a week or up to 1,200 foreign tourists per month and would generate up to 1.5 billion baht. Long-stay visitors could begin arriving next month.

The 90-day special tourist visa could be extended twice and for another 90 days each renewal.

Chan-o-cha said that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the working group tasked with virus issues, will elaborate on the matter.

Finance Permanent Secretary Prasong Poontaneat has said that the country – being one of the Southeast Asian countries that heavily rely on the tourism industry – needed to generate income from visitors, especially those from the countries where coronavirus disease had not been spreading in past months – such as China, Taiwan and some countries in Europe.

At present, 20 Chinese provinces have now been declared COVID-19-free and had a combined population of around 800 million.

Poontaneat said that even only 1 percent of the population will visit Thailand could already support the country’s tourism sector.