Thailand announced its plans to fully reopen to vaccinated visitors from abroad by mid-October this year.
“I know this decision comes with some risk because, when we open the country, there will be an increase in infections, no matter how good our precautions,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press (AP). “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.”
Prayuth introduced a plan to allow fully vaccinated foreigners and returning Thai citizens into the country “without quarantine or other inconvenient restrictions” within 120 days. Currently, foreign visitors must quarantine for at least seven days when visiting Thailand – but the country has several very glamorous options to do so in style.
Thailand has been experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases since April, according to the AP, causing about 80% of its total 204,595 confirmed cases and about 90% of the total 1,525 deaths.
Only about 7% of the country’s population of 69 million people have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Prayuth said Thailand has secured more vaccines and that by early October at least 50 million people should have received at least their first shot. (Some Thai travel agencies have been selling “vaccine tours” to the U.S. for Thai citizens.)
Next month, a trial program will allow fully vaccinated foreign travelers to visit Phuket without a mandatory quarantine period. However, travelers will be required to stay on Phuket for at least 14 days before heading to mainland Thailand.
Thailand’s reopening plans have shifted dramatically over the past few months. In March, the tourism industry launched a campaign with hopes to bring international tourists back to Thailand by July 1.