BANGKOK — (AP) — Thailand is lifting a pre-arrival registration requirement for foreign visitors that was seen as onerous and a drag on the recovery of its ailing tourism industry.
The government’s COVID-19 center also said on Friday that an outdoor mask mandate would be dropped from July 1, except in crowded places. The mask mandate was uncontroversial in Thailand and generally obeyed.
Thailand began to gradually ease entry requirements late last year. But until April, even fully vaccinated travelers were still required to undergo RT-PCR tests upon arrival and stay in a government-approved hotel for one night until the results were known.
Registration for the “Thailand Pass” required submitting copies of vaccination documents, insurance policies and other documents online, after which visitors would receive a QR code to use during the trip. The requirement had already been lifted for Thais and will be lifted for overseas visitors on July 1.
The registration process – at times beset with delays and hassles – has been seen as discouraging tourists from traveling to Thailand, where the lucrative tourism sector has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreigners arriving must still show proof that they have been vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 test results, the COVID-19 Situation Administration Center announced. But the requirement to hold an insurance policy has been removed.
Many Southeast Asian countries rely on tourism as an important source of income and in recent months have eased their entry requirements.
Thai health authorities said Friday that 1,967 new cases and 19 deaths related to COVID-19 had been confirmed in the past 24 hours. The country has recorded more than 4.4 million cases and 30,422 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
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