Having lost an estimated US$50 billion a year in revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Thailand is readying itself for the rebooting of its previously strangled tourist industry now the country is once again open, albeit for vaccinated travelers.

Not so much a lack of demand but tight restrictions for those wishing to visit Thailand saw visitor numbers plummet to just 100,000 for 2021, compared to 40 million a year before the pandemic. To all intents and purposes, Thailand’s holiday industry has been on an 18-month hiatus which saw the loss of approximately 3 million tourism-related jobs.

As part of preparing the country for an influx of tourists, the country’s main gateway, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, has carried the simulated arrival of a planeload of visitors in order to test new electronic screening measures. “All the passengers will get their QR code checked by the Department of Disease Control,” said Kittipong Kittikachorn, the airport’s general manager. “It will include all the details about insurance, vaccine certificate, or hotel booking.” From November 1, vaccinated visitors from eligible countries, including Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Australia, China, Japan, and Singapore, will be allowed to skip quarantine, providing they have negative COVID-19 tests.

©Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport

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