So who is travelling to Thailand at the moment, and how many are coming through the turnstiles?
For the first 10 days of February, there was a total of 55,823 travellers entering Thailand. 23,036 travellers entered on the Test and Go program, another 27,667 through the Sandbox scheme and 5,120 arrived to do the Alternative Quarantine program at a qualified hotel. 1,832 of those arrivals have tested Covid positive… that’s 3.3% of the total number of arrivals.
The Top 10 countries for arrivals are, in order…. Russia, Germany, UK, France, US, Australia, UAE, Singapore, Kazakhstan and Sweden.
The Test & Go program, also known as the Quarantine Exemption program (although you have a compulsory stay in a pre-paid SHA+ hotel on Day 1 and Day 5 of your arrival) was relaunched on February 1 when local tourism authorities expected a quick take up of the more popular of the three arrival schemes under the Thailand Pass brand.
On an average month, pre-Covid, there were 3.3 million arrivals (averaged out for the total year of 2019). That’s around 110,000 per day. The 56,823 arrivals between February 1 – 10 represents around 5% of the traffic that would have travelled at this time, 3 years ago. Of course the Government and TAT expect the arrivals to pick up as the year progresses and, hopefully, as the Covid situation continues to wane around the world.
Reports of the next period in February will be telling, to see if the numbers continue to steadily grow or if the first 10 days was an initial surge of travellers trying to get back to Thailand. The TAT have foreshadowed that up to 5 million travellers could enter Thailand throughout 2022, but the numbers from the first 10 days of February will have to ramp up quickly, by a factor of 5 x or more, if the TAT’s projections are to be met.
Much of the online chatter from the English-speaking community is complaining about the additional Day 5 ‘quarantine’, which has to be pre-paid, along with the Day 1 SHA+ accommodation and 2 PCR tests. That, and the continuation of an official ban on bars and nightlife, although many of the country’s hotspots are opening bars as ‘restaurants’ and serving alcohol until at least 11pm.