I thought this tourist visa idea was already a done deal, but not quite yet. Also, according to the article, there is opposition to this idea - an idea that I predict won't do much good anyway.
Reading these articles, there seems to be no shortage of confusing and conflicting information about just what and how much needs to be advance paid. It's confusing me, anyway.
Long stay visa: Cabinet decision today on "premium" visitors who will have "freedom" of Thailand
September 15, 2020
Than Settakij -Thailand's business media
- reported that proposals to open up Thailand to long stay foreign tourists would be discussed by the cabinet today when a decision on the plan is expected.
While the TAT and the private sector are broadly in favor, opposition still remains on the ground and in the medical community, notes Thaivisa.
In many ways it will be a soft opening with only hundreds expected per month and is seen by many as a cautious and appropriate way to proceed in opening up the country.
The long stay visa will be for 90 days but can be extended twice so that the visitor can stay up to 270 days.
Tourism of Thailand governor Yutthaasak Suphasorn described the potential recipients of the visa as "premium long stay" tourists and described it as a test for the reopening of Thailand.
Visitors must follow all the health department regulations just as Thais do and must go to hotels for the 14 day quarantine under the Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) guidelines. They must also have health certificates like "fit to fly" within 72 hours and adequate insurance.
If the cabinet agrees the kind of visitor will be anything from the FIT traveller (fully independent ones) to those on tour groups, said Yutthasak.
He said it will provide the visitor with the "freedom to explore" Thailand once the health regulations are completed.
Visas can be applied for at embassies and consulates around the world though consideration will be made about what countries and territories are included based on their handling of the Covid-19 situation. Low risk countries will be preferred.
He said that the TAT are working with the private sector, airlines and agents on charter flights.
He expects a limited opening of Thailand to just 100s of visitors per month.
He said this was not a business visa.
He noted the devastating effect of the pandemic on the tourism sector. Foreign tourism is two thirds of the total and 20% of GDP and 2.5 million people in the tourism workforce face redundancy if the country is not opened up in the fourth quarter.
The private sector in the shape of Dr Bun Wanasin, a senior executive at Thonburi Heathcare Group (THG) was in agreement with the plans saying it was easier to focus on long stay tourism first.
Short stay tourism would be the next stage. Convincing Thais especially those in tourist areas to open up was the key before a wider opening of the country.
Yet there is still opposition to the plans, notes Thaivisa.
Thais in tourism areas are not in full agreement and just yesterday a leading researcher at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Dr Thira Woratanarat said that Thailand should wait SIX months before opening up to tourists.
https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/118256 ... -thailand/
Long-stay tourism in sight
First steps agreed to reopen for foreigners
by Chatrudee Theparat & Wassayos Ngamkham
September 16, 2020
Thailand is moving cautiously to reopen its borders with a new plan to allow foreign visitors to stay in the country for 90 days, extendable up to 270 days under a special tourist visa scheme (STV), which is projected to generate 12 billion baht a year.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday the cabinet had approved the STV in principle and it was aimed at long-staying tourists who arrived intending to travel extensively around the country or access Thailand's healthcare facilities, regarded as among the best in the world.
The policy is expected to become effective next month and last until November next year.
Gen Prayut described the scheme as a possible answer to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. "I would like to call on Thai people to support this project because it can contribute to the economy," he said.
The PM said those awarded the special visa would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a hospital or certified alternative state quarantine (ASQ) hotel upon their arrival.
Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokesperson, said the STV had been proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
The scheme, she said, was intended to lure quality visitors and prop up the tourism industry and related businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Traisuree said the government was forecasting the scheme to require one to three flights a week for STV tourists, generating an extra one billion baht every month.
Long-staying visitors would be keen to travel to Thailand and undergo quarantine due to its success in bringing the coronavirus under control, she said.
She stressed that the special visa would only be issued to foreigners who agreed to undertake the mandatory 14-day quarantine and comply with the country's disease control measures.
They must also have proof of their long-stay plans, such as paying for accommodation or evidence of ownership of condominiums, where they will stay after completing their quarantine, plus a Covid-19-free certificate and sufficient travel and health insurance.
Ms Traisuree said the visa would last for 90 days and cost 2,000 baht but it could be extended twice, each for a further 90 days. Those interested would need to apply to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Meanwhile, a total of 421 people who came into close contact with the Uzbek football player infected by Covid-19 have been tested and most of them have been confirmed negative, according to the Department of Disease Control (DDC).
The 29-year-old football player at Buriram United tested positive on Sept 10 after finishing his 14-day state quarantine.
The DDC has already identified 508 people who came into close contact with the infected player. Altogether, 100 people were identified as being at high risk of infection and 421 were tested. Negative results were recorded for 382 people and 39 others are still awaiting their results.
In another development, the Immigration Bureau (IB) is preparing to sue a Twitter user who claimed that most foreigners arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport were not being quarantined.
IB commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang said Immigration Division 2 has been assigned to gather evidence and take legal action against the user for spreading false information.
Pol Col Choengron Rimpadee, deputy commander of Immigration Division 2, said on Tuesday foreign visitors were obliged to undergo quarantine, even if they were only arriving for health treatment. Those visitors were being quarantined in hospital and were required to provide trip itineraries, as well as the relevant permits from Thai authorities.
In Tak province, 10 Myanmar nationals were arrested near the border in Mae Sot district on Tuesday, all without travel documents.
The seven men and three women were found by a patrol of police, soldiers and immigration officials. All have tested negative for the virus.
https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... m-in-sight
Cabinet okays 9-month visas for foreigners
Sep 15, 2020
The Cabinet has approved a proposal of issuing long-stay visas for foreigners visiting Thailand.
Deputy government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Tuesday (September 15) that the Cabinet has agreed to allow foreigners to live in Thailand for up to nine months per trip, provided they can prove they have spent 14 days in quarantine.
The first visit will allow 90 days of stay, which can then be extended twice totalling nine months.
This measure will start from next month, and up to 1,200 tourists per month will be granted this extended visa.
Qualifications for the visa will be based on:
• Tourist’s compliance with measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 and agreement to spend 14 days in an alternative local state quarantine site;
• Evidence of long-term residence in Thailand such as hotel reservation, rental contract in traveller’s name or that of family members residing in Thailand or title deed of a purchased unit.
This special tourist visa will cost Bt2,000 per 90-day extension and will be available until September 2021.
The deputy spokesperson added that this visa will be applicable to visitors from countries that have been able to control the Covid-19 outbreak. Related state agencies will draw up the final regulations and the Interior Ministry will announce official details soon.
Gov’t Adopts Plan to Reopen Country to Foreign Tourists
By Khaosod English
September 15, 2020
BANGKOK — The Cabinet on Tuesday formally approved a proposal to permit foreigners to enter the country amid the global coronavirus pandemic that wrecked much of the tourism industry.
Government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said the plan, called “Special Tourist Visa,” will allow long-stay tourists to travel around the country after spending 14 days in quarantine. She said the visa will help recover the country’s economy, which is expected to lose billions of baht this year due to border shutdowns.
“Foreign tourists were our main source of income,” Traisuree said. “They generated more than two trillion baht in revenue in the past, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector, as well as other sectors, are being affected.”
“Therefore, we have the policy to resume tourism while maintaining our virus control measures.”
The announcement did not mention when the Special Tourist Visa will be implemented. The final draft of the plan is pending a deliberation by the tourism ministry.
Association of Thai Travel Agents president Vichit Prakobgosol welcomed the news but said the government should also embrace short-term tourists from countries where there has been no local infections.
“Tourists will definitely come,” Vichit said in an interview. “The approval came in time for the upcoming high season. Tourists will come to Thailand for a winter escape even though there is mandatory quarantine.”
“However, not everyone will be happy with the quarantine, so I think we should also welcome tourists from countries where the outbreak is contained,” he continued.
The government said it expects to attract 1,200 tourists entering the country per month and generate more than 1.2 billion baht in revenue. All previous attempts to reopen the country have failed so far.
Spokeswoman Traisuree said tourists who wish to enter Thailand under the plan must agree to be quarantined upon their arrival in Thailand for 14 days, and pay for the accommodation themselves. They must also pay for a 2,000 baht visa fee.
Tourists holding the “Special Tourist Visa” will be permitted to stay in the country for 90 days, after which they can apply for two extensions at 90 days each.
The Kasikorn Research Center estimated that the absence of foreign tourists will cost the country 1.69 trillion baht in loss this year.
https://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/cri ... -tourists/