The Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Association of Thailand recommend ending pre-registration for arrivals from July 1, but with an added headache for airlines and airport immigration. Indeed, documents of vaccination status and proof of anti-Covid insurance worth at least 10,000 USD should be presented by the passenger, either at check-in or upon arrival in Thailand. Probably both.
It had been widely assumed that the planned end of the Thailand Pass (which has not yet been approved by the Cabinet) would mean the automatic abandonment of compulsory insurance for tourists. Such policies can cost between 700 baht and 11,000 baht for a month, but the cheapest ones are considered worthless and are just a disguised entrance fee. Neighboring countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam have already abolished insurance demand in a bid to gain additional market share from foreign visitors.
If the Covid-19 Situation Administration Center accepts the proposal to have continued insurance this week, further delays would occur when passengers check in for their flights, as staff would have to ensure their documents were in good standing, or risk being fined by Bangkok. authorities. This happened under the now defunct Test and Go procedures, when airlines had to ensure that customers flying to Thailand had their QR code uploaded. Some airlines initially refused to board people who did not have a connecting ticket for flights departing from Thailand.
The next step would be for immigration officers to check the vaccination records and insurance documents of all arriving passengers, likely a protracted task in some cases as insurance documents can be complex, written in multiple languages and not always clear on Covid coverage. If Thailand’s tourism renaissance is to avoid airport chaos and unnecessary publicity, the rules to replace the Thailand Pass must be rethought. As always, the devil is in the details.