Thailand drops registration for visitors, outdoor mask rule

Jun 17, 2022, 12:27 AM | Updated: 12:32 am
FILE - Tourists lounge under umbrellas along Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand on March 11, 2022. Th...

FILE - Tourists lounge under umbrellas along Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand on March 11, 2022. Thai authorities say that on July 1, 2022, they are lifting the need for arriving foreign visitors to register online to get pre-approval for entry. (AP Photo/Salinee Prab, File)

(AP Photo/Salinee Prab, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand is lifting a pre-arrival registration requirement for foreign visitors that was seen as onerous and a drag on the recovery for its ailing tourism industry.

The government’s COVID-19 center also said Friday that an outdoor mask mandate would be dropped as of July 1 except in crowded venues. The mask mandate was not controversial in Thailand and generally obeyed.

Thailand began gradually easing entry requirements late last year. But through April, it still required even fully vaccinated travelers to undergo RT-PCR tests upon arrival and stay in a government-approved hotel for one night until the results were known.

Registering for the “Thailand Pass” required online copies of vaccination documents, insurance policies and other documents to be submitted, after which visitors would receive a QR code for use during travel. The requirement had already been dropped for Thais and will be dropped for foreign visitors on July 1.

The registration process — beset at times by delays and glitches — was seen as discouraging tourists to Thailand, where the lucrative tourism sector was battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Arriving foreigners must still show proof they have been vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 test results, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration announced. But a requirement to hold an insurance policy has been dropped.

Many countries in Southeast Asia count on tourism as an important source of revenue, and in the past few months have eased their entry requirements.

Thai health officials said Friday 1,967 new cases and 19 deaths related to COVID-19 were confirmed in the previous 24 hours. The country has had more than 4.4 million cases and 30,422 fatalities since the pandemic began.

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Thailand drops registration for visitors, outdoor mask rule