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Though it was not on the cards until January 2022, Thailand is moving ahead with its reopening to foreign tourism–to fully vaccinated tourists–to October 2021.
The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayuth Chan-Ocha, made the announcement this week, explaining that he understands the decision will come with inherent risks.
“When we open the country, there will be an increase in infections, no matter how good our precautions,” he told the people of his country. “But I think when we take into consideration the economic needs of the people, the time has come for us to take that calculated risk.”
The three-month speed up is designed to assist the decimated tourism industry, which ordinarily contributes heavily to the Thai economy.
It is an interesting time for the Prime Minister to make such an announcement as Thailand is currently battling a surge in Covid-19 cases. Vaccines are promised to be on the way, however, with the Thai government having signed reservation and supply contracts for 105.5 million doses to be delivered to the South East Asian nation this year. These deliveries will put the country ahead of its targeted vaccine supplies.
“Based on our current plans, we will administer an average of about 10 million shots a month from July, so that by early October almost 50 million people will have had at least their first shot administered,” Chan-Ocha promised.
The government is treading carefully. The announcement also mentioned the clause of reconsidering the October reopening date if a “serious situation” developed within Thailand or other locations around the world.
While the Prime Minister was addressing the country as a whole, some areas in Thailand are already open to tourism, with many safety precautions and sanctions in place. The tourist mecca, Phuket will be receiving fully vaccinated international tourists as of July 1, enticing travelers with their ‘One Night, One Dollar’ campaign.
This campaign sees participating hoteliers offering room rates of US$1 per night to foreign guests for accommodations that would typically run somewhere between 1,000 baht (US$32) and 3,000 baht (US$96) per night.