Thailand to extend travel bubble with neighbouring countries

Saturday, 2022-02-05 09:17:00
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A tourist takes a photo at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
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NDO/VNA - Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports plans to continue travel bubble discussions with short-haul destinations following this week's resumption of the Test & Go scheme.

Local media quoted Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn as saying that the country wants to continue travel bubble initiatives, particularly with nearby countries that generate enormous cross-border traffic, such as Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia,

He said the matter could be up for discussion when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha welcomes his Malaysian counterpart to Thailand later this month.

The ministry plans to send staff to visit Beijing for the Winter Olympics this month and wants to use the opportunity to seek further updates from China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism regarding a travel agreement.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said 35,046 tourists registered for Thailand Pass during its first day of reopening on February 1. Of which, 31,343 were for the Test & Go scheme.

The "Test & Go" programme, which allows fully vaccinated visitors to spend only one night in a certified hotel while they wait for the result of their RT-PCR test - taken upon their arrival in the country - to come out, was suspended on January 7 in response to growing concerns about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The programme was resumed on February 1. However, travellers faced stricter requirements. They will be required to take two RT-PCR tests, one on the first day and another on the fifth day. Visitors will now have to produce proof of reservation at a Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certified hotel, and pre-pay for the two COVID-19 tests they have to take.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports hoped that the resumption of the scheme will help the country attract 8 million tourists this year.