Traveling to Thailand is about to get easier again
Good news for travelers looking to visit Thailand in 2022: The country has announced plans to restart its Test & Go program from Feb. 1, following a month of mandatory quarantine rules for travelers.
Under the reinstated guidelines, from Feb. 1, visitors will have to take a PCR test on arrival and then test again five days later. Travelers will have to isolate in an approved hotel for at least one day following the first test while awaiting the results, and then once again for the fifth test.
According to The Thaiger, you will be able to travel freely between the two test days provided you download a tracking app that gives Thai authorities permission to trace your movements while in the country. You are also able to stay at different hotel locations for the first and fifth-day tests.
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This will be a slight revision to the previous Test & Go rules where travelers in the program only had to take one PCR test on arrival. Additionally, visitors to Thailand will also require proof of their hotel bookings for the first and fifth days when testing is required.
What are the requirements for Test & Go?
Visitors to Thailand will need the following, according to reporting by Thaiger:
- Proof of hotel booking for Day 1 and Day 5 in Thailand.
- Confirmed payment or proof of booking for a SHA+ approved hotel.
- Prepayment for the two RT-PCR tests.
- Certificate of vaccination or vaccine passport.
- Proof of a negative result from an RT-PCR test issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
- Thailand Pass QR code. (Click here for the official website run by the Department of Consular Affairs. The Thailand Pass is free. Watch out for other sites seeking payment.)
The update will be welcomed by travelers after seeing an earlier glimpse of travel hope back in early November of 2021. During this period, Thailand permitted vaccinated travelers from 61 countries to enter its borders without quarantining, only to suspend the scheme on Dec. 20, following the first confirmed omicron infection.
The new version of Test & Go is reported to be open to all visitors, and not restricted to specific countries. Until the rule changes on Feb. 1, travelers have been required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days whether they’re vaccinated or not.
The mandatory quarantine, which came in the same month British Airways canceled all flights to Bangkok until fall of 2022, was another hammer blow for the Thai tourism sector.
Before the pandemic, in 2019, leisure and hospitality contributed 21.9% to the country’s economy, with a record 40 million visitors flocking to its golden beaches and historic cities. Since then, however, visitor numbers have since dropped by a staggering 99.5%.
Plans are also now afoot to expand the other type of Thai quarantine waiver, the Sandbox, whereby vaccinated tourists agree to stay in one location for a week. Currently operating on the western coastline in Koh Samui and Phuket, it may be extended up the eastern reaches as well, including popular beach destinations Pattaya and Koh Chang.
Before you get too excited about the prospect of full moon parties, it’s worth noting that it is still not quite business as usual in the country. While the government has just extended the hours to which restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol (11 p.m.), bars and nightclubs will still remain closed for the foreseeable. And not without good reason.
There have been 2,344,933 infections in Thailand since the start of the pandemic with 21,968 deaths. Although as the government prepares to loosen its travel restrictions in February it’s clear that Thai authorities, at least, believe the tide is starting to turn.
Featured photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images.
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