Thailand is eyeing to fully reopen the country to foreign travellers in 120 days and give at least one dose of vaccine to the majority of residents by early October to revive the tourism-centric nation’s economy.
Prime Minister of Thailand Prayuth Chan-Ocha said this in a national address on June 16.
Some tourist destinations should be ready for fully vaccinated international travellers without any quarantine requirement sooner than the wider reopening, with Phuket as the “pilot,” Prayuth added.
The country targets to vaccinate 10 million people a month from July and has ordered 105.5 million doses of vaccines for this year, more than the country’s target, the Prime Minister mentioned.
“The time has now come for us to look ahead and set a date for when we can fully open our country and start receiving visitors because reopening the country is one of the important ways to start reducing the enormous suffering of people who have lost their ability to earn an income,” Prayuth said.
“I am, therefore, setting a goal for us to be able to declare Thailand will fully open within 120 days from today, and for tourism centres that are ready, to do so even faster.”
Thailand’s urgency to reopen follows its reliance on the tourism sector that, in the pre-pandemic era, bore about one-fifth of the nation’s economy.
But the pandemic and subsequent global travel restrictions have cut jobs and shut down businesses resulting in losses worth billions of dollars for the country’s tourism industry which is used to earn from international travellers.
“We cannot wait for a time when everyone is fully vaccinated with two shots to open the country or for when the world is free of the virus,” the premier said. “We must be ready to live with some risk and just try to keep it at a manageable level, and let people go back to being able to earn a living.”
In July, when the popular tourist hub of Thailand Phuket will allow quarantine-free travel for vaccinated visitors, it will hint at how the latter full reopening will be received by global travellers.