Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Thailand reopens to international flights, but only some tourists can visit

Medical tourists, overseas students and foreigners working in Thailand will be allowed into the country from July 1

Thailand is reopening to commercial flights tomorrow, but only medical and wellness tourists will be alllowed to visit. Unsplash
Thailand is reopening to commercial flights tomorrow, but only medical and wellness tourists will be alllowed to visit. Unsplash

Thailand is reopening to international passenger flights from Wednesday, July 1.

The commercial flight ban that has been in place across the kingdom since April 3 will be lifted from Wednesday, July 1.

Commercial passenger flights will be allowed to operate flights landing at international airports across the country, including Bangkok, Samutprakarn, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Thailand's international airports are gearing up to welcome commercial passenger flights from July 1. Unsplash
Thailand's international airports are gearing up to welcome commercial passenger flights from July 1. Unsplash

Restrictions on who can fly into the country remain in place, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

Commercial flights carrying Thai nationals and their family members, residents, students, medical and wellness tourists and those with special permission to enter the country will be allowed to land in Thailand. All other passengers will not be allowed entry as authorities work to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Anyone entering the country must adhere to screening procedures in place at all airports and follow mandatory 14-day quarantine procedures at their own cost.

Medical visitors could restart crippled tourism industry

Medical and wellness visitors account for 10 per cent of Thailand's annual tourism numbers. Unsplash
Medical and wellness visitors account for 10 per cent of Thailand's annual tourism numbers. Unsplash

Medical tourists can enter the country on the basis that they go directly to quarantine at hospitals and health centres.

Thailand is ranked fourth in the world for its medical tourism industry, which is worth about $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) annually, according to the International Medical Travel Journal. Thai authorities are keen to revive this carefully regulated travel sector to help rejuvenate at least part of the country's crippled tourism industry.

Medical and wellness visitors typically account for nearly 10 per cent of Thailand’s 35 million annual tourists, and the UAE is a key market says the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The three most requested medical treatments in Thailand overall are medical check-ups, plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery.

Cargo, repatriation and humanitarian flights were never banned from entering Thailand and can continue to fly in and out of the kingdom.

Easing of restrictions

Movement restrictions in Thailand are easing as life sowly returns to normal. Unsplash
Movement restrictions in Thailand are easing as life sowly returns to normal. Unsplash

The opening of Thailand's borders to some commercial flights comes as the country further eases movement restrictions.

From Wednesday, July 1, bars, karaoke venues and pubs can reopen until midnight following safety guidelines that include social distancing between tables and operating at reduced capacity.

Thailand most recently confirmed two new coronavirus cases, both imported from abroad. At the time of writing, the country had gone five weeks without any recorded local transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

Updated: July 1, 2020 12:42 PM

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