BANGKOK — Foreign tourists willing to brave the global pandemic and spend a vacation in Thailand are still welcomed, as long as they have all the required documents, a chief tourism official said Friday.
Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the Special Tourist Visa program, or STV, is still valid and not subjected to any additional restrictions, at least for the time being.
“Yes, we’re open to everyone,” Yuthasak said by phone. “The same requirements still apply to foreigners travelling on the Special Tourist Visa. It’s not related to the situation in our country since they are required to get tested and spend 14 days in quarantine.”
He also said the second wave of coronavirus outbreak in the kingdom appears to have no effect on the number of STV applicants so far.
“They keep coming in,” Yuthasak said.
Under the special visa program, foreigners from any country are allowed to visit Thailand for up to 270 days, but they must agree to spend 14 nights in quarantine upon their arrival and pay for all the expenses involved, such as accommodation fees and medical insurance.
Travelers can also fly into the country on other visas such as the 45-day tourist visa waiver program and the regular Tourist Visa (TR), which allows people from countries which have no visa waiver agreement with Thailand to stay up to 90 days.
However, Yuthasak said those visas are subject to the same quarantine requirements as the STV.
The Special Tourist Visa was approved by the Cabinet back in September in hopes of rescuing the country’s lucrative tourism industry, which has been suffering from the global epidemic.
At the time, the government said the STV will attract 1,200 tourists entering the country per month and generate more than 1.2 billion baht in revenue.
But the initiative has fallen short of that lofty goal so far. In the two months of November and December, only 825 tourists from 29 countries entered the country through the STV scheme, according to the latest available figure announced in December by government spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek.
“It depends on a number of factors as well such as the outbreak situation in their home country and seasons,” Yuthasak said.