Thailand Expands Special Tourist Visa Scheme to All Countries

But long-stay travelers will still be required to quarantine for 14 days in a government-approved facility.

A longtail boat on Railay Beach in Ao Nang, Krabi province. (Photo: Preto_perola/iStock)

In an effort to help prop up Thailand’s ailing tourism industry, the Thai Cabinet has chosen to approve changes to its Special Tourist Visa (STV) program, which was initially open only to those from low-risk countries and regions. The Southeast Asian nation will now be welcoming all long-stay visitors regardless of the Covid-19 situation in their places of origin.

According to the Bangkok Post, the scheme was amended after a less-than-enthusiastic uptake, with just 825 tourists from 29 countries and six luxury yachts making use of the STV since its launch on September 30. Deputy government spokesperson Ratchada Dhnadirek said authorities would also be extending the stay period for visa holders arriving on yachts to 60 days, up from the original 30 days. Successful applicants of the program will still have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

It isn’t the first time authorities have made it easier to apply for an STV. Last month, Thailand dropped a requirement for long-stay visitors to possess at least 500,000 baht (US$16,636) in their bank account for six consecutive months before the date of application. Reuters reports that the ongoing border closures and global travel restrictions have crippled the country’s tourism industry: the month of October saw just 1,201 foreign visitors enter Thailand, a minute fraction of to the 3.07 million who arrived in the equivalent period last year.

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