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Bangkok to reopen to international travellers on Oct 15

Bangkok to reopen to international travellers on Oct 15

A general view of the almost empty departure hall of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Mar 11, 2020, as visitor numbers have plummeted in the region over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo: AFP/Mladen Antonov)

BANGKOK: Bangkok will reopen to international travellers on Oct 15 when at least 70 per cent of its residents are expected to have been fully vaccinated. 

The decision came after a discussion between Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan and Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang on Wednesday (Sep 15). 

“Our mutual decision is that we want to carry out the vaccination throughout Bangkok - in every district - so that when we reopen it, it will apply to all of Bangkok,” said Mr Pipat in a press conference. 

“For the safety of Bangkok residents, the vaccination coverage of no less than 70 per cent is very important.”

According to the minister, more than 70 per cent of Bangkok’s population have already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine but only 37 per cent have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

The remaining 33 per cent should have been given their second dose by early October, he added.

“We are confident that on Oct 15, Bangkok will be able to reopen to international tourists,” Mr Pipat said.

However, he did not mention if there will be any quarantine requirements for international travellers once the capital city reopens.

The reopening of Bangkok is part of the government’s initiative to boost the economy, which is heavily reliant on international tourism. For more than a year, the tourism sector has suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic and international arrivals being halted.

In June, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that Thailand will reopen its borders to international travellers in 120 days.

He also called on key tourist destinations to reopen sooner if they are ready, adding that travellers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should be exempt from quarantine.

“Tourists who have completed their vaccination should be able to travel to Thailand without any quarantine or restrictions that would cause inconvenience," said the prime minister then.

On Jul 1, the popular resort island of Phuket reopened to international tourism. Under an experimental tourism model called Phuket Sandbox, tourists are not required to undergo any quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in their country for at least 14 days and test negative upon arrival.

Besides Bangkok, several other provinces are also scheduled to welcome back international tourism next month. Chonburi, Petchaburi, Prajuab Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai are expected to partially reopen on Oct 1.

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Source: CNA/vc(aw)

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