Thailand To Welcome Unvaccinated International Visitors With PCR-Test & No Quarantine From May 1, 2022
Thailand has made further modifications to the entry process effective May 1, 2022 and will not only scrap all testing requirements for vaccinated passengers but now also welcome unvaccinated visitors without quarantine (providing they had a PCR Test done within 72 hours prior to departure).
There has been quite a bit of back and forth with these rules and especially the new options for unvaccinated individuals are worthwhile to look at in detail to avoid any problems.
I previously wrote about Thailand having removed all testing and hotel booking requirements starting May 1st but that only concerned those passengers who received their vaccine.
These policies have been developed over the past year to salvage the tourism industry in Thailand but it was quickly apparent that all the restrictions on arrivals we’ve frequently reported on wouldn’t have the effect the government was hoping for.
Tourists wouldn’t rely on the ever-changing rule work, quarantining, sandboxing, testing, and the danger of being locked up if testing positive somewhere in this process.
This month – April 2022 – the penny finally dropped that drastic measures are required to get the tourism back on track and start welcoming foreign passengers en masse. The only way to do this is to drop all major requirements and threats to comfort.
The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs just published this graphic explaining the new process:
While this is somewhat contradictory in terms of information (one side says vaccinated passengers can enter the other requires quarantine) the key here seems to be the pre-departure PCR Test.
- Unvaccinated Passengers with 72-hour fresh PCR Test -> No Quarantine
- Unvaccinated Passengers without PCR Test -> 5 Days ASQ Hotel Quarantine (+Tests) Required
Now, this doesn’t make much sense because who would arrive without a PCR Test in Thailand, knowing full well one would be quarantined at their own cost AND tested!?
The clear key here is that all passengers who have not received the vaccine should get at least their PCR Test done and upload the negative result into Thailand Pass to obtain arrival clearance.
Since April 1st Thailand stopped requiring pre-flight PCR Tests for vaccinated passengers:
Confirmed: Thailand Scraps Pre-Flight PCR Testing From April 1, 2022 While On Arrival Test Remains In Place
Then the most recent decision, no more testing at all from May 1, 2022:
Breaking: Thailand To End Test&Go, Remove Arrival Testing & Hotel Requirement From May 1, 2022
All passengers wishing to enter Thailand under the new requirements will be able to do so by applying for a new Thailand Pass which will be online from April 29, 2022.
Those who have already prepaid a hotel and testing package should contact them for inquiries about refunds or at least a credit used for accommodation. Less a problem for visitors as they need a hotel regardless but rather annoying for residents in Thailand who have prepaid for a test/hotel, both of which are now no longer required.
In the last article’s comment section, one reader commented that his hotel (Courtyard Bangkok) would only offer a credit while the packages at other properties such as the nearby Renaissance were refundable. Even more reason to check the booking conditions carefully every time.
The Thailand Pass system will remain active and serve as a validator for the insurance and vaccination certificates. That’s not too unreasonable but I think the Korean version I used recently is superior, it just saves the documents and then issues a code instantly. That Thailand Pass needs to validate this information somehow adds additional layers and unnecessary delays.
Thailand will now start to make the arrival process smooth for both vaccinated as well as unvaccinated visitors and welcome them both without restrictions and mandatory follow-up testing starting May 1, 2022.
The penny must have finally dropped that only a rapid shedding of all these rules and restrictions will help the tourism industry get back on track. The country has already missed several high season arrivals which ended up being very painful to local operators.