As of today (July 1st), Thailand has reopened its airports to international flights, although before you get too excited, there are still a number of restrictions on exactly who will be able to fly into Thailand.
As things currently stand, Thailand will initially open its six main airports to returning Thais citizens, residents, diplomats, those with special permission and wellness tourists. The new regulations specifically do not open a route for foreign tourists, nor do they give any implication about when international arrivals may be allowed again.
The fact that “wellness” visitors are allowed to visit though is an important step in the right direction, and it is hoped by the Thai authorities that the wellness sector might be able to help jump-start the Thai economy.
Wellness, or to give it its correct term “medical tourism” has seen a boom in recent years as Thailand and the country is the fourth most popular in the world when it comes to this specific sector.
Quite how Thai officials will differentiate between a wellness visitor and a regular tourist has not yet been made clear, nor have what certification they will have to provide to be allowed into the country either.
So, whilst “International flights resume in Thailand” makes a great headline, it is still a little misleading as it certainly does not mean that Thailand’s tourism industry will be returning any time soon. Many Thai officials have also come out over the last few weeks and stated that they are in no rush to resume tourism until the international situation regarding COVID-19 becomes clearer.
It does, though, at least mark one of the first signs in the South-East Asian region that tourism and things, in general, are at least beginning to get back to normal. For now, at least, we will all have to wait.