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Thailand begins to reopen bars, pubs to woo back tourists

20 May 2022 - 09:07 By Anuchit Nguyen
Unvaccinated foreign tourists who test negative in professionally-monitored rapid antigen tests on arrival will be able to skip quarantine, according to Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the virus task force.
Unvaccinated foreign tourists who test negative in professionally-monitored rapid antigen tests on arrival will be able to skip quarantine, according to Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the virus task force.
Image: 123rf.com/dorianm/ File photo

Thailand will allow bars, pubs and karaoke clubs to reopen in some regions from next month, ending a more than a year-long shutdown, as the tourism-reliant nation targets more travellers to bolster an economic recovery amid an easing Covid-19 outbreak.

Popular tourist destinations including Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi are among 31 provinces classified as green and blue zones where pubs, bars and karaoke lounges can serve alcohol to patrons until midnight from June 1, Rachada Dhnadirek, a government spokesperson, said on Twitter on Friday after a meeting of the nation’s virus task force chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha. 

The gradual reopening of the nightlife entertainment venues marks the end of some of the toughest pandemic-era restrictions and is seen as key to luring more foreign tourists in the June-September period, considered a low season for Thai tourism. The Southeast Asian nation has seen its omicron-fuelled Covid-19 wave ease in recent days with new cases averaging about 5,000 a day from a peak of almost 30,000 in early April.

Thailand will allow bars, pubs and karaoke clubs to reopen in some regions from next month, ending a more than a year-long shutdown, as the tourism-reliant nation targets more travelers to bolster an economic recovery amid an easing Covid outbreak.
Thailand will allow bars, pubs and karaoke clubs to reopen in some regions from next month, ending a more than a year-long shutdown, as the tourism-reliant nation targets more travelers to bolster an economic recovery amid an easing Covid outbreak.
Image: Bloomberg

Thailand expects tourist arrivals to more than triple to about a 1 million a month from October as nation rolls back most of the border controls. While the country has scrapped mandatory Covid-19 testing and quarantine for tourists, pre-arrival registration and insurance requirement are seen as deterrents with other tourism-reliant nations doing away such restrictions.

The so-called Thailand Pass requirement for tourists will remain while it will be waived for Thai nationals returning to the country, according to Rachada. Unvaccinated foreign tourists who test negative in professionally-monitored rapid antigen tests on arrival will be able to skip quarantine, according to Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesperson for the virus task force.

The nightlife venues must comply with the government’s Covid-19 prevention protocols, and all employees must take a weekly rapid antigen test, Rachada said. The facilities should also refrain from holding promotional activities for alcoholic beverages, she said.

Foreign tourist arrivals topped 1 million this year through May 18 with the easing of travel curbs, Rachada said. The country received only 427,869 visitors last year, compared with almost 40 million in 2019, according to official data.   

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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