Thailand opens up tourism sector for vaccinated visitors from low risk countries

On Tuesday, shares of Thailand’s airlines and hotels rose in early morning trade, following an announcement by the prime minister that from November more vaccinated tourists would be allowed to visit the country.

Late on Monda, Prayuth Chan-ocha said mandatory quarantine for vaccinated tourists from “low risk” countries will end this November. These include the United States, Britain and China.

Thailand’s tourism and leisure index jumped by 4.42% when markets opened on Tuesday, compared to a benchmark increase of 0.82%.

Shares of Asia Aviation Pcl and Bangkok Airlines Pcl rose by 5.59% and 3.42%, respectively.

Shares in hotelier, Erawan Group Pcl jumped by 7% while that of Asset World Corp rose by more than 4%.

The country’s strict entry requirements have kept COVID-19 infections from tourism under control. However, this has had a major impact on tourism jobs and revenues from Thailand’s vital tourism sector took a major hit.

However, from July, Thailand stared pilot projects in Phuket and Samui and allowed vaccinated tourist; earlier this month it trimmed quarantine periods in other tourist locations as well.

Tourist arrivals have plummeted to a fraction of the 40 million visitors in 2019, in which tourism clocked $50 billion in annual revenues.

Despite its stringent measures to keep COVID-19 out of the country, Thailand has recorded 1.7 million infections and 17,835 COVID-19 deaths.

A third of its 72 million residents are vaccinated.

According to analysts, foreign arrivals are unlikely to increase quickly, unlike domestic tourists.

“A reopening would mean that full mobility is restored … we are much optimistic on the domestic travel and consumption,” said Maria Lapiz, head of institutional research at Maybank Kim Eng.

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