BANGKOK, March 23 — In a bid to boost its tourism industry especially in the southern provinces, Thailand is working closely with relevant authorities to reopen all land border entry points with Malaysia by May 1.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the ministry would propose to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to reopen more entry points between the two countries.
“We plan to gradually open other checkpoints in Narathiwat, Yala and Satun that connect Malaysia to promote tourism in the Southern provinces. We expect all Thai-Malaysian checkpoints to reopen by May 1.
“Tourism and Sports Ministry will coordinate with Foreign Ministry to discuss with Malaysian authorities on measures to be implemented at border checkpoints to contain the spread of Covid-19,” he was quoted saying by English portal, The Nation here today.
At present, the Sadao Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) in Songkhla is open for tourists entering the kingdom. However, the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security point in Bukit Kayu Hitam at the Malaysian side is set to open by April 1.
Also, starting April 1, Hat Yai International Airport is scheduled to welcome international tourists.
Malaysian tourists have been the largest group of visitors to the kingdom before the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, Thailand recorded nearly 40 million visitors including 4.1 million Malaysian tourists.
During Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s recent official visit to Thailand on February 25, Malaysia and Thailand had agreed in principle to implement quarantine-free travel by air, land and sea via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) and Test & Go schemes.
Ismail Sabri said related ministries and agencies would be holding discussions on procedures for the reopening of the common borders.
Malaysia is set to reopen its borders starting April 1 as the country will enter the “Transition to Endemic” phase after taking into account several factors, conducting the necessary risk assessmentS, seeking advice from the Ministry of Health, and scrutinising the recommendations from the Quartet Ministers. — Bernama