Thailand is mandating Covid insurance for visitors from some countries


Thailand is mandating Covid insurance for foreign visitors from countries requiring negative RT-PCR test results before returning home, reinstating access rule ahead of the likely arrival of large numbers of Chinese tourists.

The insurance rule will ensure that visitors who test positive for the virus can afford treatment in Thailand before they leave the country, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters after meeting with health and tourism authorities on Thursday.

Thailand had last year removed all Covid-related entry restrictions, including requirements for insurance and proof of vaccinations. Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy attracted about 11.5 million foreign visitors last year, compared to 40 million before the pandemic in 2019 – when almost a quarter came from China.

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While the insurance policy recovery is narrow, Thailand is joining a host of countries, including Japan, Canada and France, in tightening regulations since Beijing announced border easing. Thailand expects 300,000 Chinese visitors in the first quarter of this year, Anutin said Wednesday.

Anutin said Thailand is not imposing entry rules targeting specific countries, only trying to introduce security measures that match those in place in people’s home countries. While China requires a 48-hour negative PCR test result for all incoming travelers, India has imposed a similar mandate on visitors from five countries, including Thailand and China.

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The insurance requirement, which takes effect next week, comes as China quickly dismantles its zero-tolerance policy, reopens the country to the world and lifts quarantine for arrivals from January 8. gradual reopening of border controls with Hong Kong from Sunday.

The Thai government will provide booster vaccines for foreign tourists at hospitals across the country for a fee, Anutin said. Thais are advised to get vaccinated with four doses and urged to wear masks in “high-risk” areas, he said.

Visitors to Thailand are not currently required to provide proof of vaccination, said Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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The government last week raised its target for foreign visitors to 25 million by 2023, with China relaxing rules on outbound travel. Foreign tourist receipts are expected to return to 80% of pre-pandemic levels at 1.5 trillion baht ($44 billion), while the larger tourism sector, including domestic travel, is expected to generate 2.38 trillion baht in will generate revenue.

Copyright 2023 Bloomberg.


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