Thailand will launch a new tourist visa that could facilitate long-term stays of up to 270 days, or nine months. The Special Tourist Visa (STV) is expected to be available shortly, once the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) official announcement is released.
Visitors will first be allowed to reside in Thailand for 90 days. They can then apply for two further 90-day extensions, which will cost THB 2,000 each. The programme will run until 30 September 2021, beginning with a pilot programme of 100 people. The TAT expects to have one to three inbound flights per week.
Aimed at digital nomads and employees who can work remotely, the new visa promises to bring in a steady, sustainable influx of foreign spending to boost its tourism-dependent economy while balancing the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
However, the visa’s application process has been criticised by travellers for being overly complex. Applicants are required to submit a broad range of documents and forms to an intermediary agency, including proof of medical insurance that covers USD 100,000, their flight number, proof of accommodation, and a health certificate issued within 72 hours of the flight.
In addition, travellers will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine at an alternative (local) state quarantine (ASQ/ALSQ) – a major deterrent for most tourists. Once released from quarantine, visitors will be required to have an app or wristband to track their movements throughout their stay.
Source: Bangkok Post
The Special Tourist Visa comes as the latest development in Thailand’s border reopening. In July, the country revised its foreign policy to allow business travellers to enter the country, exempting them from quarantine, provided they were able to certify their COVID-free status.
According to Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand has seen a drastic decrease in international tourist arrivals since March, with a 66% decrease in the number of tourists in the first half of 2020, dropping from 20 million to 7 million arrivals.
Statistics from the Ministry of Tourism & Sports
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Thailand has maintained a low COVID case count since early May, according to official figures. The nation has reported a total of 3,514 cases in total, with three new cases in the past 24 hours.