With British aviation minister Robert Courts confirming that the UK will soon be allowing holidays to “green zone” countries, attention has switched to the likelihood of Thailand receiving its share of summer vacationers. Sadly, the answer is no.
Under current UK rules, all foreign holiday trips are banned with an expensive penalty lurking for unauthorized attempts. But a traffic lights system is scheduled to be introduced next month. Brits will be able to visit green-listed countries without quarantining on their return. On their return from amber countries, Brits will need to quarantine at home for 10 days. However, they will face mandatory and expensive stays in supervised hotels if their chosen spot-in-the-sun is a red-zone country.
EasyJet is already readying its mothballed aircraft as it believes that several tourist-orientated European countries – as well as the Maldives, Malta and the Seychelles – will be green-listed. But a spokesperson said that Thailand was unlikely to be green because of the recent surge in infections and the weak start to mass vaccination. Less than one percent of Thais have so far been immunized.
Thailand will most likely be an amber destination without quarantining in supervised premises once back in UK. However, returnees will need to stay at home for ten days in isolation and take two Covid (PCR) tests within that period. This requirement alone could raise the inclusive costs of a holiday by two hundred pounds or more.
Further costs will be incurred by Brits needing to apply to the Thai embassy in London for permission to fly, known as a certificate of entry which requires pre-visit health checks and coronavirus insurance. There is also a compulsory hotel quarantine in Thailand required of all international visitors with the exact time scales currently under review.
There is additionally the need to take another Covid test prior to the departure back to UK. The cost of all these British and Thai bureaucracies combined could add nearly 2,000 pounds to the holiday costs for just one individual. The British based ABTA said there was “massive pent-up demand in UK for foreign travel,” but Asian destinations look off-limits for most people.
Other Asian countries are more restrictive in their entry requirements than Thailand. Neither Cambodia nor Vietnam is currently issuing tourist visas and both have banned visa-on-arrival procedures. The Philippines is likely to be included as a red-zone country because of the Covid situation there. Malaysia still bans most of its nationals from travelling abroad whilst excluding all foreign tourists.