THURSDAY, February 22, 2024

Tourism ministry wants Thailand Pass scrapped from June 1

Tourism ministry wants Thailand Pass scrapped from June 1

The government will be urged to scrap the Thailand Pass requirement for incoming travellers from June 1 in a bid to boost the country’s tourism, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said on Thursday.

He said the proposal would return travel to Thailand “back to normalcy, just like in 2019” — before the world was hit by Covid-19. If the government accepts the proposal, travellers will not be required to register for Thailand Pass currently required under the Test & Go, Sandbox and quarantine schemes.

The minister said he had suggested that rapid antigen testing be applied to arriving travellers so ease the fears of locals, although the final decision regarding the matter should rest with the Ministry of Public Health.

He said his ministry would submit this proposal to the government through the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which is chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, among relaxation of preventive measures for the country’s reopening.

“We [Thailand] are like a hare running faster than others. What should we do to prevent humiliation when ending up being overtaken by a tortoise? The goal for Thai tourism is to become a global leader,” Phiphat said.

His proposal came amidst growing calls from the tourism sector for the scrapping of the Thailand Pass requirement.

Addressing a general meeting of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) on Thursday, Phiphat revealed that after the long Songkran holidays in mid-April, his ministry would propose to the CCSA that the requirement for RT-PCR testing for arriving travellers be dropped from May 1. He added that only an ATK result certified by the hospital should be required.

However, the proposal for further easing Covid-19 preventive measures would be made only if the number of daily Covid cases does not exceed 60,000, including the ATK results, and the deaths are under 100 per day, according to Phiphat.

At present, incoming travellers are required to undergo RT-PCR testing for Covid on the day of arrival in Thailand and ATK on the fifth day. Previously, they had to show negative results of RT-PCR testing administered no more than three days before their departure flight to Thailand.