The Thai Minister of Public Health revealed that Thai officials are planning to offer Chinese tourists a booster jab against Covid-19 when they arrive on January 8th, 2023.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the Thai Health minister, stated to the Thai press that AstraZeneca vaccines will be given to Chinese tourists who are willing to pay when they arrive in Thailand after China lifts travel curbs on January 8th.
This policy is not mandatory, and Chinese tourists will only be asked to comply with basic regulations just like other foreign arrivals.
Unlike Thailand, RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 for both inbound and outbound travelers are still in place in China as of press time, so the minister does not expect a sudden influx of Chinese tourists to flood into Thailand. Some testing is set to be removed by January 8th in China, however.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) forecasts to see around 300,000 Chinese arrivals in the first quarter of 2023. As for Thai people, they should make sure they have had at least four doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, said Anutin, adding businesses should also have effective disease controls.
Wichit Kaewsaithiam, director of Chiang Mai airport, said direct flights between China and Chiang Mai will resume immediately on January 8. Some airlines are already planning to offer flights between Shanghai and Chiang Mai, he said.
Meanwhile, India is planning to mandate pre-departure RTPCR tests upon tourists arriving from five Asian countries: Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Thailand.
According to the latest guidelines issued by the Indian union ministry of health and family welfare, this move will be enforced on January 1st, 2023. The order said, “A mandatory requirement for pre-departure RT-PCR testing (to be conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey) is being introduced for passengers arriving on all international flights from these countries.”
This will significantly affect the number of Indian tourist arrivals in Thailand as Indian tourists are making up the largest proportion of tourist arrivals by air in Thailand, according to the TAT.