Over 300,000 foreign tourists land a week after Test & Go scheme scrapped
In a marked changed in tourism sentiment, some 300,000 foreign visitors arrived during the first seven days after Thailand abolished the Test & Go scheme, Government Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday.
Thanakorn said Prayut was happy with the foreign arrivals figure after the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration cancelled the Test & Go scheme on May 1.
The spokesman said the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported to Prayut that more than 300,000 foreign tourists had arrived in the Kingdom during the first seven days after the scheme was abolished.
Cancellation of the scheme means fully-vaccinated foreigners do not undergo the expensive RT-PCR Covid test upon arrival and do not have to be quarantined.
Only unvaccinated tourists, who fail to provide proof of Covid negative test results 72 hours before arrival, will be quarantined in their booked hotels for five days.
While the spokesman called the abolition of the Test & Go scheme as the full opening of the country, all foreign arrivals will still have to register for entry permission via the Thailand Pass website, a process seen by tourism and hotels businesses as the last hurdle for recovery of their industry.
Thanakorn said the TAT expects that some 300,000 foreign tourists will visit Thailand each month from May to September.
He said the number is expected to rise to one million per month from October to December, which is regarded as the high season for foreign arrivals.
The spokesman also quoted Prayut as saying that tourism and hotel operators should retrain their staff to be multiskilled in anticipation of an influx of foreign tourists later this year.
The prime minister has also instructed government agencies concerned to improve and restore sightseeing places to make them more attractive to tourists. The prime minister also suggested that hotel operators improve their facilities ahead of the arrivals, Thanakorn added.
Prayut reminded local people and tourism operators that they should strictly follow Covid-19 preventive measures.
On Monday, the Public Health Ministry reported that 6,484 more people had tested positive during the previous 24 hours of whom four were imported cases.
The spokesman added that 56.4 million people have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines, 51.63 million had received both doses, and 26.61 million had received the third jab.