Thailand on mind? Fully vaccinated tourists allowed to visit from 1 October
Fully vaccinated foreign travellers will be allowed to visit Thailand for tourism purposes from 1 October, said the kingdom in a statement on Friday.
As per the tourist authority of Thailand, visitors will be able to visit Bangkok and four other provinces without undergoing two weeks' hotel quarantine.
Instead, the five areas -- also including Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces -- are expected to follow a "sandbox" model of the type piloted since July in the holiday island of Phuket.
Under this scheme, tourists will have to stay within a certain area for seven days after arrival and take Covid tests.
Later on 21 October, more destinations will be added to the list, including Chiang Rai, Sukhothai and popular seaside getaway Rayong.
More than 29,000 fully vaccinated international visitors hit the beach at Phuket under its sandbox scheme, generating nearly $50 million in revenue according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
Three more Thai islands also reopened -- Samui, Tao and Phangan -- with slightly more onerous restrictions.
The decision comes despite a deadly third wave, triggered by the Delta variant.
The country's tourism industry, which used to make up a fifth of its national income, has been hammered by the pandemic and the subsequent travel curbs.
After the outbreak of Covid, the usual flood of foreign visitors has dwindled to almost nothing, contributing to the economy's worst performance in over 20 years.
One cloud hanging over Thailand's tourism revival plans is the travel advice of other countries discouraging would-be tourists from visiting.
Britain and the United States have warned against travel to Thailand because of rising case numbers and low vaccination rates.
Covid situation in country
Thailand got through 2020 relatively unscathed by Covid, recording low numbers of infections, but since April the Delta variant has taken hold and cases have soared to more than 1.3 million, with almost 14,000 deaths.
About 16% of the Thai population have received two coronavirus vaccine doses, the government's Covid taskforce said.
The country on Friday reported 14,403 new Covid-19 cases and 189 additional fatalities, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
New cases went down again after reporting a spike of over 16,000 cases on Thursday. Out of the new cases reported, 3,495 were found in Bangkok and 1,037 in neighboring Samut Prakan.
The CCSA also indicated that 15,610 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals during past 24 hours after making a full recovery, over 1,200 more than the number of new infections.
With inputs from agencies.