Thailand has eased its travel restrictions just in time for the peak summer season. Its tourism industry is likely to receive a further boost thanks to this announcement, after Thailand reopened its borders on May 1, 2022, following the introduction of the Thailand Pass.
Thailand is becoming less apprehensive about the pandemic
According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q4 Global Consumer Survey, which focuses on consumer attitudes towards COVID-19, Thai respondents are becoming less apprehensive about the pandemic. In Q4, less than half (48%) of Thai consumers stated that they were still ‘extremely concerned’ about the pandemic, compared to Q2 of the same year which showed over half (55%) of Thai respondents giving the same response.
These results show that sentiment among respondents is shifting to a more positive outlook regarding the pandemic. As such, Thai residents and businesses are more likely to be open to the idea of welcoming more inbound tourists. This is in part attributed to the nation’s large-scale vaccine roll-out. The country’s double vaccination rate now stands at 75.9% (as of July 8, 2022).
Easing of restrictions signals a shift back to pre-pandemic travel
Prior to July all travelers had to sign up to the Thailand Pass system ahead of their trip, provide proof of full vaccination and purchase mandatory travel insurance. Thailand is seeing strong demand from international travelers, and so this easing of restrictions has come at an opportune time. Thailand’s Tourism Minister released a statement saying, “It’s time to make a full attempt to restore our economic growth with tourism. The removal of Thailand Pass will make it more convenient for tourists to come.”
This has the potential to be positive for the Thai tourism industry, with targeted marketing building on the fact that the country is a popular destination for sun and beach holidays. This holiday type is the most widely taken by global travelers, according to GlobalData’s 2021 Q3 Consumer Survey with 57% of global respondents stating they take holidays of this type.
Balance is key for Thailand’s tourism recovery
Although the removal of the Thailand Pass is good news for the Thai travel industry, governmental authorities need to exercise some caution and ensure contingency plans are in place. While unvaccinated international travelers do still need to provide proof of a negative PCR test before traveling, those that are vaccinated only need to provide proof of their vaccination status. However, with the threat of future COVID-19 variants, the Thai government needs to ensure it can quickly scale up testing measures if another wave of the virus occurs. Moving forward, it will be a balancing act for authorities as the world learns to live with the disease.
Communication and collaboration with travel and tourism companies across Thailand is essential. Nevertheless, Thailand’s removal the Thailand Pass could potentially make 2022’s summer tourism season a pivotal one for the country’s economic recovery.