Thai tourism officials say the earliest it will happen is sometime in November.
Would-be travelers based outside Thailand who are aching to revisit its buzzing capital will have to wait a little longer. Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai were set to allow quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated tourists next month, but Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Reuters yesterday that authorities had to “push out the date to November” as the four cities had not yet reached vaccination targets. The reopening date was originally intended to be October 1, before being delayed to the 15th to buy more time for the vaccine rollout in each of those places to hit the required coverage of 70 percent.
According to a report published in the Bangkok Post earlier this week, Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said that City Hall would only agree to reopen the capital to international visitors once three criteria had been fulfilled. Apart from fully vaccinating 70 percent of the population, Bangkok would have to see a sustained decline in daily caseloads — which have consistently remained well above 2,000 cases in the past few weeks — and lower numbers of coronavirus patients in hospitals.
Official data from the Thai government shows that only 44 percent of Bangkok’s seven million residents have been fully vaccinated. Municipal authorities project that the target will be met around October 22, with herd immunity kicking in seven to 14 days after that date. That puts the tentative timeframe for the city’s reopening in the middle of November, before the Loy Krathong festival.
Phuket and Koh Samui currently welcome double-dosed international visitors, who will be allowed to tour the rest of the country after spending a total of 14 days between selected islands in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand (two beach destinations on the mainland — Railay and Khao Lak — are also included in the scheme). When Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai eventually open back up, it is not yet known if or how the movement of overseas tourists will be controlled.