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Thailand Quietly Cracks Open Border Early for Select, Rich Travelers

Executives who booked pricey resort quarantines welcomed, but no one arrives. 3 more groups selected for entry starting July 1

Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok Thailand Immigration

Thailand quietly cracked open its borders again on Wednesday, officially allowing foreign entry to foreign businesspeople willing to self-fund their 14-day quarantine.

The door may have been opened, but no one reportedly entered.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, said traveling executives and investors who pre-registered for a quarantine package at luxury hotels could have entered Thailand as of today.

The all-inclusive stays – which include testing and medical service – are not for those on a budget, with hosts like the Movenpick Wellness BDMS Resort Hotel (60,300 baht), Grand Richmond Hotel. (55,000 baht), Anantara Siam (144,000 baht) and Grand Centrepoint Sukhumvit 55 (55,000-125,000 baht) aiming at fat corporate travel budgets.

More travelers are expected to be allowed to enter Thailand beginning July 1, but not normal tourists.

The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Committee agreed on Wednesday to welcome three groups of visitors starting next week.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the plan is a draft still needing CCSA and Cabinet approval.

The first group contains diplomats, consuls, representatives of international organizations, shipping agents and foreigners with work permits.

The second group includes Thai returnees while the third group concerns foreign patients – except those infected with Covid-19 –  who want medical treatment in Thailand.

General tourists will not be allowed in for the time being, Anutin said.

Thai and foreigners who plan long stays in the country would have to be quarantined. It had not been concluded if the requirement would also apply to the businesspeople whose stay would be less than 14 days, he said.

Anutin also said such visitors should not be forced to wear face masks because it was “individuals’ rights”. However, provincial governors have the power to require the use of face masks in their jurisdictions, he said.