Meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday agreed to facilitate access to the country for foreigners married to Thai nationals as well as those with permanent residency status. It is understood that officials are still working on the details and requirements for such access but it is expected the conditions applied will be somewhat similar to those for foreigners currently entering Thailand with work permits.
A spokesman for Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that spouses of Thai nationals will be granted access to the kingdom under new measures to be revealed over the coming days and processed by the ministry in the same way as those with work permits. A similar provision is also to be made for those with permanent residency in the kingdom.
The Thai government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has now confirmed that agreement has been reached in principle to admit foreigners who are married to Thai nationals or with permanent residency in the kingdom and to facilitate their return to families and loved ones.
The announcement was made on Monday by Deputy Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Natapanu Nopakun.
Meeting on Monday followed summit of key ministries and officials over the weekend to plan out the return of foreigners to families and tourism
A meeting was held by officials on Monday morning.
This followed another meeting on Sunday with representatives from the Ministries of Public Health, Foreign Affairs, Tourism and the Covid 19 Administration Centre to map out renewed access to Thailand for foreigners.
Twin track approach for foreigners with ties and those from participant ‘travel bubble’ countries
It is understood that a twin-track approach is being adopted, one for tourism which will also be significantly controlled using ‘tourism bubbles’ or bilateral agreements with other countries with a good track record at containing the Covid 19 virus.
Foreigners with links to the kingdom will be allowed access through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while tourism access will be strictly controlled both in respect of which countries or regions are allowed access and where, in Thailand, such visitors can travel to.
A further meeting is scheduled for Wednesday of participants of last Sunday’s summit.
Key to movement will be increasing the daily inbound processing ability from 500 to 1,000 passengers
The key to access for foreign nationals with Thai marriage partners or residency in the kingdom will be the ability of authorities to process inbound passengers into quarantine from 500 to 1,000 people per day.
Access by foreigners with Thai marriage partners and those with permanent residency will still, however, be rigidly controlled.
Strict control and requirements from foreigners
Those entering the country will be required to conform to a standing list of requirements including $100,000 Covid 19 health cover, medical certification and of course, the entry certificate approved on a case by case basis with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok and issued through the applying embassy.
It should be pointed out that details of such requirements have not yet been confirmed or published and are expected shortly.
This may also mean that it will be mandatory to avail of the government’s alternative quarantine facilities which are reported to cost between ฿45,000 to ฿100,000 per person per stay.
Mr Natapanu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has promised further details will be announced by his department over the coming days as the government formulates its plans for access with the relevant state agencies and the Covid 19 centre at the heart of Thailand’s response to the emergency.
Prime Minister underlines the cautious nature of the government’s stance and response to foreign tourism
On Monday also, the Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan ocha was anxious to underline the cautious approach being adopted by the government in allowing access to the kingdom by foreigners at this time.
He was speaking at the War Veterans Organisation in Bangkok.
He stipulated that adequate disease control measures will be put in place to deal with any proposed plans allowing foreign tourists to gain access.
Restrictions on tourists inside Thailand
Even for those tourists allowed to enter Thailand, they will face restrictions on where they can travel and other health safety requirements such as social distancing.
The PM suggested that it will be possible to close off the areas tourists are allowed into if there is any indication of a Covid 19 outbreak or threat to the country’s hard-won gains against the disease.
New conservative form of foreign tourism
General Prayut emphasised that this will not be tourism as we knew it before or what he termed ‘liberalised tourism’.
‘Tourists will not be able to roam at will but to go only to places that are opened to them and have disease control capabilities. This is the guideline for the reception of foreign tourists, I think it is safe and better than liberalised tourism,’ the prime minister said.
This new conservative type of Thai tourism will involve limits in the number of visits allowed into the country and flight access.
‘There must be regulations’ before foreign tourism can resume into Thailand warns General Prayut
He explained that the government would be looking hard at bilateral agreements or tourism bubbles with countries or regions that can prove themselves to be free of the disease.
He warned that the approach would remain vigilant and cautious and that screening and testing would be in place as well as requirements for health certificates from any proposed travellers.
‘There must be regulations for this before international tourism resumes. We will do it in a step-by-step manner. We will see if the countries that cooperate with us also have collaboration at a city-to-city level. The government is planning this carefully, and tourists must also have health certificates,’ he outlined.