Thailand Mulls End to “Test & Go” Scheme

If tourism chiefs get their way, foreign visitors may be able to enter the country without restrictions in just two weeks’ time.

Wat Mahathat temple in Thailand’s Sukhothai Historical Park. (Photo: coward_lion/iStock)

Authorities in Bangkok are considering whether to drop the Test & Go quarantine waiver in an effort to attract more overseas tourists ahead of the summer season. Current rules do not allow for spontaneous last-minute trips: all holidaymakers will need to register in advance for a Thailand Pass via an online portal. Prospective visitors must upload a scanned copy of their passport, an official vaccination certificate, a pre-paid hotel booking for the first night, and proof of health insurance with a minimum coverage of at least US$20,000 for medical treatment. The approval process typically takes three to five working days.

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said last week that the ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand would submit a joint proposal to cancel Test & Go and remove the Thailand Pass at the next meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) — the national pandemic task force — scheduled this coming Friday. Officials are hoping the arrangements can be scrapped as soon as May 1, allowing vaccinated travelers to enter the kingdom without restrictions.

Phiphat also said Thailand was “ready to welcome back foreign visitors as our public health system is adequately equipped.” But he cautioned that a further reopening would remain dependent on changes in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths after the Songkran holidays.

Should this proposal be greenlighted by CCSA members, then it will need to go through further rounds of approval by the Thai cabinet and published in the Royal Gazette before the changes are made official. Earlier this month, Thailand scrapped its requirement for pre-departure PCR tests for international travelers; on-arrival PCR tests are still necessary but will be replaced by rapid antigen tests from May onward.

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