Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the minister of Tourism and Sports, said on Friday that the first group of 300 foreign tourists will be allowed to enter Thailand by strictly following the state quarantine measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
By reopening borders to welcome in foreign tourists, the government aims to boost the domestic economy which has been suffering from the recession due to the outbreak.
For the first tourist group, if there are no infections under the COVID-19 measure, the government will allow the second group of 300 foreign tourists to enter in the next three weeks, said Phiphat.
The tourists will undergo the same measures as Thai people returning from abroad including 72-hour tests prior to arrival and 14 days in state quarantine.
Phiphat also said that the number of tourists could possibly rise to 10,000 if the first two initiatives are successful.
During the trial period, if there are no new infection cases from the tourists, he will propose to reduce the number of days in state quarantine to seven days.
According to the Bank of Thailand (BOT), 6.7 million foreign tourists were expected this year, which is a decrease from 9 million, and they are hoping to generate around 332 billion baht.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said that it expects a number of tourists from Northeast Asia and ASEAN to rebound in the near future.
TAT forecasts approximately 16.7 million visitors from the Asia-Pacific region and 3.8 million visitors from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa to enter Thailand in 2020.
Maria Lapiz, the head of Institutional Research at MayBank Kim Eng, said in a note to clients that the news of foreigners being able to enter the country under a special tourist visa (STV) poses a positive factor to companies related to foreign investors such as WHA and AMATA.
The hospital company BCH which has around 100 patients waiting for travel approval also benefit from the news, said Maria.
During the afternoon break on Friday, BCH shares stood at 14.50 baht per share, down 0.10 baht or -0.68 per cent, with a transaction value of 4.02 million baht.