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Monday 9 January 2023

Changing the Covid rules on a daily basis

Rule number one of tourism: make sure your guests are comfortable and know what to expect.

That is a rule than Thailand authorities have broken this week with Covid restrictions making a sudden, unexpected return.

As borders in China reopen, Thai officials have said that tourist arrivals are required to have has at least two Covid vaccine shots.

Very little advance warning.

But all international visitors will be treated equally said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnviraku, making the point that China cannot be openly snubbed.

Gourmet on the Road's Thai correspondent reports: "It's probable that most travellers to Thailand, having experienced few or no restrictions in their own country for many months, no longer give Covid a second thought and certainly wouldn't think it necessary to carry proof of vaccination with them to a country which, until today, also had no restrictions.

"And that's even if they heard of the sudden new restrictions before going to the airport."

Thai media reports this morning said that thousands of hotel room nights and some charter flights had been cancelled as a result of the requirements.

But it was also reported that some passengers may be allowed to fly but having to take a Covid test on arrival at airports like Bangkok's Suvanarbuhmi (above).

Confusing and not comforting.

"There are going to be many disappointed and angry passengers being refused boarding, and who will probably decide after losing the money spent on flights and hotels that Thailand simply isn't worth the risk in future," our correspondent reports.

Update: Within 24 hours officials had again changed their minds. Thailand rescinded the entry policy announced at the weekend requiring visitors to show proof of a Covid-19 vaccination.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said it "would like to clarify that Thailand continues to welcome all international tourists".  It said foreign tourists are not required to show ATK or RT-PCR test results.

We await tomorrow's update. 

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