With the “Test & Go” travel program suspended, Thailand has opened 3 more top destinations for vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists from all over the world starting Jan. 11.
Along with Phuket, travelers can now visit the beaches of Krabi, Phang Nga, and Koh Samui under the “Sandbox” program, which allows foreign tourists to enter the country undergoing some sort of vacation quarantine.
According to the Thai Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), all visitors are eligible regardless of their vaccination status.
Eligible visitors must submit proof of vaccination, a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test, proof of having paid 7-10 nights at a government-approved hotel, and proof of insurance that covers COVID-19-related expenses for no less than $50,000.
In addition, visitors must pre-pay RT-PCR tests for when in the country. Vaccinated travelers need to pre-pay for 2 RT-PCR tests, one on Day 0-1 and the other on Day 5-6, and unvaccinated on Day 0-1 and Day 8-9 of their quarantine.
Finally, everyone must obtain a “Thailand Pass,” at least 7 days prior to travel.
Registrations for the “Thailand Pass” under the “Test & Go” program will remain suspended at least until January-end. Officials have said, -off-the-record-, that the country does not have plans to revive this scheme.
While it was opened, the program attracted over 350,000 visitors. Tourism representatives do not expect the same numbers but think it is still better than nothing.
“It’s still better than zero, still better than a total travel ban,” the head of the island’s tourism association told the Bangkok Post.
Following the New Year’s celebrations, Thailand saw a spike in Covid-19 infections, with many Omicron cases detected among foreigners entering the country under the now-suspended scheme.
The country is now boosting capacity for travelers to isolate themselves in hotel rooms.
“What Thailand did with the suspension and the adjustment showed that we were quick to make a call to limit the damage, and made changes as we learned more,” said the president of the Phuket Tourist Association.
Thailand’s Public Health Ministry plans to change Covid-19’s status from pandemic to endemic this year.