Thailand said it would vastly expand the number of countries from which fully vaccinated people can visit starting Nov. 1, racing to attract tourists who might otherwise decide to visit other countries first as Europe and the Americas continue their reopening plans.
Fully vaccinated travelers from 46 countries will be granted quarantine-free entry to 17 tourist provinces including Bangkok, up from the 10 previously announced, under a plan unveiled by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday. The United States and China are among the countries on the list.
The plan would make Thailand one of the least restrictive countries for tourists to visit in Asia. South Korea now allows travelers of 49 nationalities to apply for permission to enter without a visa.
Currently, vaccinated visitors must quarantine for seven days upon entering Thailand, except if they arrive on a direct flight to the island of Phuket, where they are exempt from quarantine as long as they stay on the island. After seven days in Phuket, they can tour other parts of the country.
Even as Asia makes strides in vaccinations and slowly eases its Covid curbs, travelers across the region remain under some of the strictest international border rules in the world. Those restrictions have hampered economic recovery, particularly in countries that relied heavily on foreign tourists before the pandemic.
While some Asian countries have cautiously allowed small numbers of tourists to enter, others, including China and Japan, have kept borders closed to tourists since the start of the pandemic.