Thailand has reopened its doors to tourism on November 1, 2021, after 18 months of pandemic restrictions. Vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries are no longer required to go into quarantine. Visitors from the UK, China, Japan, the US, and most of Europe are eligible for the quarantine-free entry. The number of tourists in the country is expected to rise to 15 million next year, bringing in more than $30 billion. However, only around 42% of the population is fully vaccinated. Thailand is still recording almost 10,000 COVID-19 cases a day. Last year, the country saw an 80% drop in tourist arrivals.

Many Thai business owners from famous tourist districts are skeptical over the reopening. Wiwan Siriwasaeree, a hostel owner, is worried about the consequences of welcoming tourists back to Khaosan Road. “We fear that after we let the tourists in and the new COVID-19 cases spike again, will we go into another lockdown? I’m not so confident about the situation,” she said. Peeti Kulsirorat, a restaurant owner, also expressed his doubts about the reopening. “If they come here and many things are banned and closed, what’s the point of coming here? It will eventually slow down and people will start to get bored with all the restrictions.” Before the pandemic, the Chinese were the biggest group of tourists in Thailand. The Thai government predicts revenues to return to their pre-pandemic levels by 2023, although many industry analysts argue that China’s ongoing border closures will slow down the industry’s recovery.