Thailand opens borders to first international tourists in seven months

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Thailand has welcomed its first international travellers in seven months as part of a new “Special Tourist Visa” programme.

The 39 tourists, who flew into Bangkok from Shanghai, will need to stay in the country for a minimum of 30 days under the rules of the special initiative, which was approved by the Thai cabinet in September.

As part of the requirements for the visa, the visitors must take out special insurance policies, get a Covid-19 test before they travel and prove they have accommodation for the duration of their stay in the country.

Once they get to Thailand, they must stay in a government-approved hotel or hospital and quarantine for the first 14 days. They will also need to download the official coronavirus-tracking app and use it during their time in the country.

Only those travelling from Thailand’s list of low-risk countries can apply for the Special Tourist Visa. The visas are valid for up to 90 days, and can be renewed twice.

While all international flights will arrive into Bangkok for the time-being, future destinations may include Phuket if the programme is successful.

Thailand’s tourism ministry is expecting two other flights from China later this year, as well as around 400 foreign visitors in early November, the Associated Press reported.

At the moment, Thailand is on the UK Foreign Office’s safe list, and visitors don’t need to self-isolate on return.

However, the UK is currently not on Thailand’s list of low-risk countries, which means those travelling from the UK won’t be able to apply for the visa.

Thailand’s borders are only open to travellers from the UK in certain situations, such as if you hold a valid work permit, or are an international student.

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