Thailand Mulls Scrapping RT-PCR Test, Uplifting The Tourism Sector Outlook

Thailand plans to scrap mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival for inbound travelers from next month in an attempt to step up efforts to bring back tourist.

According to Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutecha, the RT-PCR test would be replaced with antigen test at the airports. He made his remarks after a meeting of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Accordingly, vaccinated travelers will no longer need to reserve one-night hotel accommodation to apply for the Thai Pass.

The country’s hotel industry has long been demanding to scrap the Test & Go visa program which added as discouragement to traveler planning to visit Thailand.

“We’ve continued to ease rules on tourist arrivals both by land and by air, and we’ve seen substantial increase in arrivals,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha told reporters.

“We will need to weigh carefully between the economy and heath.”

However, Taweesilp Visanuyothin- a spokesman, told in a separate briefing that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration will again review the proposal of visa relaxation after  next week’s Songkran holidays to mark the Thai New Year.

Moody’s Investors Service, which on Thursday maintained Thailand’s Baa1 rating and stable outlook, expects a gradual recovery in tourist arrivals with a return to the pre-pandemic levels only in late 2024 or early 2025. Moody noted arrivals from China will pick up only in 2023, while the number of Russian tourists will decline significantly in 2022 following the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.