Thailand is one of many countries that have significantly eased entry requirements on international arrivals, considering the country’s current COVID-19 situation. According to the Asia travel-readiness index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Thailand was one of the highest-scoring countries, ranking fourth among 28 countries and special administrative regions in Asia with the best ease of travel. Moreover, the easing of travel restrictions on May 1, 2022, will allow fully vaccinated travelers to forego the RT-PCR test and reduce their COVID travel insurance requirement from USD 20,000 to USD 10,000. At the same time, 31 land border checkpoints across 17 provinces will be reopened to enable overland crossings.
KResearch perceives that such relaxation of measures is an important step in driving the tourism sector and revitalizing the outlook for international tourism in Thailand over the remainder of 2022. These adjustments should help to make travel more convenient, decrease expenses for tourists and more importantly, boost international tourism competitiveness. Many other Asian countries have already renewed their tourism campaigns and relaxed their entry rules. Singapore, for instance, has implemented the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program, allowing travelers who are fully vaccinated to enter the country.
However, there are still many challenges for the industry that could affect foreign tourists’ confidence and influence their travel decisions, including international travel policies of tourists’ home countries, China’s zero-COVID policy, the Russo-Ukrainian war and rising travel expenses. For this reason, KResearch maintains a cautious view towards the recovery of Thailand’s tourism sector, with international arrivals for 2022 estimated at around 4 million people. Should the aforementioned factors show clearer signs of improvement, the number of visitors to Thailand may exceed expectations.