<p>AngThong National Park in Koh Samui, Thailand</p>

AngThong National Park in Koh Samui, Thailand

Thailand holidays: Latest entry rules for UK visitors as country removes pre-travel test

While visitors won’t have to take a pre-travel test, the Thailand Pass pre-registration system remains

Lucy Thackray
Friday 29 April 2022 16:51
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Thailand has had one of the most complex reopening processes of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations.

Ever since the country began reopening to foreign visitors in July 2021, test schemes such as the “Sandbox” and “Test and Go” programmes have limited vaccinated visitors to certain entry points or forced them to quarantine in certain hotels before being allowed to explore the island.

Many found these stacked with small print and hard to follow - added to which, all visitors needed to register for its pre-travel Thailand Pass, a system which some visitors reported finding slow to approve their visit or difficult to understand.

As such, Thailand’s tourism revival has been sluggish - Reuters recently reported that forward bookings for 2022 show it has only reached 25 per cent of its pre-pandemic tourism levels, compared to Singapore having reached 72 per cent and the Philippines 65 per cent.

Now, Thailand’s Tourism Authority has announced that the country will ease its travel rules for both vaccinated and unvaccinated holidaymakers from 1 May.

However, several Covid rules and guidelines remain on the ground, including mask-wearing and nightlife curfews.

So what changes are being made from May?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is changing from 1 May?

From 1 May onwards, neither vaccinated nor unvaccinated visitors must take a pre-travel test before travelling to Thailand.

Both categories of visitor must still pre-register their visit to receive a Thailand Pass, which can be done online here. Authorities recommend leaving two to 10 days before your trip, but The Independent recommends allowing two weeks in case of a rush of applications.

Fully vaccinated travellers must attach a passport scan and their proof of vaccination to the application, as well as proof of travel insurance with at least $10,000 coverage for medical treatments in Thailand.

Unvaccinated visitors can either choose to take a PCR test before their trip, or not - however, if they choose not to, they will have to quarantine for five days in a hotel on arrival, taking a PCR test on day five to be released. (So it’s probably worth doing.)

This is a vast change for unvaccinated visitors, who previously had to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

Those who haven’t been fully jabbed but do upload proof of a negative PCR test (taken within the 72 hours before arrival) can swerve quarantine and further tests, and explore the country from day one.

Since UK tourists to Thailand don’t need a visa for visits of fewer than 45 days, the new rules are pretty low maintenance regardless of your vaccine status.

The changes “will boost our tourism,” prime minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha told reporters in mid-April. “We will need to rely on tourism significantly during this time to ensure our economic recovery.”

What’s the situation on the ground in Thailand?

Wearing masks in public is still mandatory until at least the end of May, as part of Thailand’s emergency decree.

After peaking at the end of March, Thailand’s Covid cases are on a downward slant, with 15,717 new infections reported on average each day. As of the end of April, around 95.3 per cent of the country’s population has had two doses of a vaccine.

The country isn’t as busy as usual - it has seen around 497,693 tourists in the first quarter of 2022, a considerable jump compared with the 20,172 who visited in the first quarter of 2021. But in 2019, the country saw a pre-pandemic 39.92 million visitors - or nearly 10 million per quarter.

Restaurants, bars, shops and attractions are largely open as normal - especially in the 10 “Blue Zones” of the country - but there are still curfews placed on some nightlife venues. Until recently, restaurants could only serve alcohol until 11pm - this has now been extended to midnight.

For the most up to date news on Thailand’s reopening, rules and restrictions, see the news section of the Tourism Authority’s website.

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