It is now certain that Thailand will reopen to international tourists with no quarantine requirements from November 1, 2021. Under the plan, fully vaccinated foreign visitors will need to show that they are COVID-free at their time of travel with a test undertaken before they leave their home country, and do a test in Thailand, too. The criteria for allowing foreign tourists to enter Thailand is based on the risk level of their home countries. Conditions for visiting tourist attractions in Thailand are subject to further consideration of the relevant authorities. Additionally, the government is planning to open additional provinces for international tourists. The first phase of the reopening scheme in November 2021 includes 15 provinces (light blue) although it will hinge on their COVID situations, i.e., infection rates remain moderate, and no new clusters found.
KResearch is of the view that the reopening to international tourists with no quarantine requirements from November 1, 2021, reflects a concerted effort among the relevant sectors in kick starting Thai tourism, following a prolonged slump. It will be a boon for travel-related businesses, particularly during the final two months of the year and through to early next year when Thailand typically sees the highest number of international tourist arrivals compared to other periods.
Nevertheless, there are still risks seen in Thai tourism even though the COVID-19 infection rate here has become more stable. Moreover, the COVID-19 situations and outbound travel policies of some home countries of foreign tourists, such as requirements for their nationals to undergo mandatory quarantine after traveling back, are important factors that affect the decisions of tourists. KResearch, therefore, expects that the number of international tourist arrivals in Thailand will increase only gradually during November-December 2021, and substantial growth will likely be seen in late December 2021.
The reopening plan may help bolster the number of international tourist arrivals in Thailand by roughly 64 percent during the final two months of 2021, when compared to the case of no such plan at all. As a result, the number of foreign holidaymakers in Thailand may increase to approximately 180,000 (from our prior estimate of 150,000) in 2021, helping generate tourism revenue of at least THB13.5 billion, primarily in tourist attractions that are opening for international tourists. If various situations gradually improve, Thai tourism will likely post substantial growth in 2022.