Doi Inthanon National Park. Photo credit to http://blog.eoasia.com.

COVID-19: Thailand’s International Borders Likely Closed for Tourists Till 2021

Update Aug 24, 2020: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has agreed in principle to conditionally open Phuket for international tourists from October 1 as part of the Tourism and Sport Ministry’s Safe and Sealed plan. Read here for more information.

More and more indications are pointing to the possibility that Thailand’s international borders will remain closed to tourists until 2021.

At the time of writing, many countries across the world are still battling COVID-19, with some experiencing the second or third wave. Vietnam, one of the few countries thought to have built a success story with its fight against novel coronavirus in the past few months, on August 14 (Friday) reported 24 new COVID-19 cases and one death, bringing the total tally to 929 cases with 21 fatalities.

In the Philippines, the total number of cases has surged to 153,660 after its Department of Health reported 6,216 new daily cases on Friday. Meanwhile, Malaysia is now battling its new COVID-19 cluster in the northern state of Kedah.

Thailand also reported a whopping 17 new coronavirus cases with 15 of them being Thais who have recently returned from India.

According to deputy governor for international marketing at Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Thailand’s international borders might not be opened to tourists until 2021.

Speaking at a webinar hosted by Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and TravelMole, he revealed Thailand’s government was taking a “very, very cautious” approach to the reopening of international borders and that “there has been no talk of or timeline issued for reopening the country to inbound or outbound leisure travel during weekly Covid-19 national meetings”.

Nevertheless, there has been a plea to the Prime Minister of Thailand to reopen borders. On August 4, Glasgow-based journalist and public relations consultant Ken Scott released a video appealing to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to reopen the country’s borders to tourism.

In the video, he also presented proposals for Prayut Chan-o-cha to consider.