A Cabinet meeting next week will consider approving a special tourist visa for foreigners who wish to enter Thailand, not just Phuket, says Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn..

National Economic and Social Development Board Secretary General Tossaporn Sirisamphan says the ‘Phuket Model’ is causing confusion and opposition as a result.  Therefore, we’ve adjusted the plan to allow foreign tourists to travel at large, since some of the provinces such as Bangkok have the capability to handle foreign tourists.” Tossaporn also said PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has given a green light to the new proposal. 

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was adamant the measure could go ahead; he said he already had approval from the government’s pandemic response centre.

What was known as the Phuket Model will now be rebranded as a ‘Special Tourist Visa’.  The visa will be valid for an initial 90-day stay but can be renewed twice – 90 days each time – for a maximum stay of 270 days. The visa, which costs Bt2,000 per person, is suitable for foreign tourists who want to stay in Thailand for a long time, Yuthasak said.

But officials have yet to determine tourists from which country will be allowed to come in, Tossaporn said. The final list will be decided by the tourism and foreign ministries.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents previously suggested allowing in tourists from cities or countries at low risk of Covid-19 without any quarantine.

“If the situation in the fourth quarter does not improve and no foreign tourists have yet travelled to Thailand, 2.5 million jobs out of a current 4 million in the tourism sector may be lost. Thailand has to prepare for ‘limited exposure’ to foreign tourists, hoping to attract tourists from markets such as Europe in the fourth quarter of this year. If the results are good, numbers can be expanded,” Yuthasak said.