Thailand will join a growing number of countries—including Japan, Canada, and New Zealand—that are doing away with COVID-related border measures this fall.
Starting October 1, the Southeast Asian country will no longer require travelers to provide their vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test to enter.
The decision came along with an announcement that Thailand’s Public Health Ministry would be downgrading the status of COVID-19 from a dangerous communicable disease to an infectious disease under surveillance.
Thailand has been very calculated in its reopening strategy, first reopening just the island of Phuket to international travelers in July 2021 as part of a “sandbox” program, which allowed visitors to move about the island as they pleased until their 14-day quarantine was complete, at which time they could explore the rest of the country.
In November 2021, fully vaccinated tourists were allowed to visit, provided they came with proof of a negative COVID PCR test and took another test on arrival. However, tighter restrictions were brought back in December 2021 due to an omicron variant–fueled rise in cases. Throughout 2022, Thailand has continued to slowly ease restrictions. Currently, travelers are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure to visit.
Thailand’s huge, lucrative tourism industry (which accounts for 20 percent of the country’s economy) was devastated by local and worldwide measures to contain the pandemic. But, so far this year, it has seen arrivals rebound somewhat with 5.2 million visitors, though that’s down from just shy of 40 million in 2019.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.