Tourists hoping to come to Thailand starting next month will have to jump through 31 hoops and lay out hundreds of thousands of baht in advance just for a chance to spend the winter on the beach.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn said Sept. 21 that the days of buying a round-trip air ticket and showing up in Thailand with only a passport and suitcase are over, at least for the foreseeable future.
Instead, prospective tourists will need to have their travel plans approved by the Thai government, book a private jet or charter flight and commit to staying in the country for at least 90 days, with the first two weeks of that in quarantine.
Under the Special Tourist Visa approved last week by the Cabinet, long-stay tourists willing to put up with the massive hassle and paperwork, let alone the expense, aren’t guaranteed to be allowed to come.
Yuthasak said the STV cannot be applied for directly at a Thai embassy. Travelers will need to provide their travel plans to the TAT, which will then have to forward a list of names to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, which will then adjudicate the application.
The TAT chief said he hoped a decision would be rendered within a week, but there were no promises.
While the onerous requirements look unappealing, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn claimed there was significant interest around the world, especially among those in the far northern hemisphere where winter already is setting in.
“Now, Europe is starting the winter season. Therefore, many tourists want to come to warm zones like Thailand,” he said. “Besides, many Asian tourists possessing great spending power want to apply.”