It looks like Thailand will soon relax some of its strict restrictions and regulations on foreign visitors to revitalize its once thriving tourism industry.

A proposal for a COVID-19 administrative status check (ASC) is currently under consideration at the centre, which (if approved) would allow tourists to leave their hotel rooms after the first three days of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Under current regulations, travelers must be quarantined in a government-approved alternative quarantine zone and spend most of the two weeks in their hotel room.


Current trend

The new initiative, called Area Hotel Quarantine (AHQ), was unveiled yesterday at a video conference chaired by Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phichat Ratchakitprakarn and attended by ministry officials, industry representatives and officials from the Health Support Department.

As part of the AHQ, visitors will be tested for PCR on the third day of their stay at participating hotels. If the result is negative, they may leave their room but may not enter the hotel grounds. It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but from a traveler’s perspective, it’s definitely an improvement.

According to the Bangkok Post, the change could take effect as early as April and initially cover the country’s five main destinations: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Chon Buri. The local office said the AHQ is part of the Thai government’s plan to open up the country more from next month.

The CCSA team will also consider a proposal to exempt visitors who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from the quarantine requirement. The country’s local tourism industry has reportedly requested that the mandatory quarantine be lifted as of January 1, July, in the hopes of welcoming back masses of vaccinated visitors.

According to Bloomberg, tourism accounted for about a fifth of Thailand’s gross domestic product in the days leading up to the petition, making it the main driver of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

American tourists are currently allowed to travel to Thailand, but there are many hurdles to overcome. You must apply for a special visa and entry certificate and receive approval prior to travel, submit a negative result of the COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure, and be retested upon arrival.

From the airport, travelers will go directly to the alternative quarantine hotel they have booked, where they will spend the next 14 days. Foreign visitors must also provide proof of travel medical insurance with up to $100,000 in coverage for COVID-related medical expenses.

During quarantine, guests are mainly confined to their hotel rooms and meals are delivered directly to their door three times a day. Partner hospital staff still bring them in two or three times for check-ups during the isolation period. If the second test is negative, you may be able to leave the room to use certain hotel services, depending on hotel policy.

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