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First tourists back to Thailand struggle with reopening rules and paperwork

Just over per week after Thailand started a phased reopening to tourists, some worldwide guests are struggling to conquer the journey admin concerned.

The nation introduced on 22 October that it will open to tourists from 46 international locations on 1 November, beginning initially with absolutely vaccinated travellers who apply for entry by means of the Thailand Pass.

In what gave the impression of a comparatively easy system, arrivals should present a unfavourable PCR check consequence earlier than and after flying to the nation, take one additional check on arrival, self-isolate for one evening in a lodge whereas the outcomes are rotated, and – assuming the result’s unfavourable – could then freely proceed their travels.

But on-line boards, Facebook teams and annoyed tweets inform a special story.

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First, travellers to Thailand should retailer their proof of vaccination, passport data, medical insurance doc, lodge and flight bookings within the Thailand Pass, a one-stop digital system that the nation introduced in to substitute its prolonged Certificate of Entry (CoE) course of.

Once the standards are met, the Pass generates a QR code that’s scanned upon entry to the nation.

However, in its first week, the Pass was so fraught with glitches and unresolved consumer questions that it made headlines throughout the nation.

“Thai officials are working to fix and improve the Thailand Pass entry system for incoming passengers by air following a growing number of complaints during the week as users encountered bugs and difficulties in using the system and getting the appropriate approval in time to meet flights and bookings,” reported the Thai Examiner on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported on “complaints by some tourists that they had either experienced delays in receiving QR codes or in some cases had not received them at all, following the approval of their travel applications.”

Travellers on Facebook group Thailand Reopening reported points starting from by no means receiving a QR code regardless of a number of purposes; the system requiring add of a one-page insurance coverage doc when most insurance policies are a number of pages lengthy; and being rejected for together with a center identify not displayed on their NHS Covid Pass.

Users of the system additionally reported challenges chasing up their purposes as soon as submitted, with no clear communications centre behind the digital system.

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“Just sent our 10th request for the Thailand Pass, departure in 10 days (SF-Bangkok) – more than €1,200 already committed in this trip, starting to become crazy!,” tweeted Paris-based Lucie Hardy, tagging Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“My Dad finally received his QR code from Thailand Pass about 24 hours before his flight. We got there in the end but was a stressful experience,” tweeted James Goyder.

For UK-based journey author Lucie Grace, nonetheless, who utilized final Wednesday, the Thai Pass labored like a appeal.

“Lots of people are getting in a flap about the Thailand pass, but mine did what it said on the tin,” she instructed The Independent forward of a visit to Chiang Mai this week.

“I applied on 3 November, received it on 7 November and I’ll fly on 10 November. No complaints from me.”

She did determine one technical faff which may trigger issues for much less digitally assured travellers.

“It only accepts jpeg files of all your documents, which were emailed as pdfs, so I had to run everything through a converter. That could be challenging for some people.”

Meanwhile, some tourists have fallen foul of Thailand’s testing-on-arrival coverage, with households compelled into lodge quarantine after they examined constructive.

Thailand-based journalist Richard Barrow printed a publication earlier right now about the consequences of testing positive while in the country, citing the case of a father separated from his household when he examined constructive on arrival.

The man estimates that he may have to pay 350,000 Thai Baht (£7,882) in the direction of hospital and quarantine charges if his insurance coverage supplier received’t cowl it – and his spouse and youngsters could have to fly dwelling with out him as he’ll nonetheless be in isolation.

“I knew that I was taking a gamble when I chose to buy plane tickets as soon as the Thailand reopening was announced,” the daddy instructed Barrow.

“We lost that bet.”

Another man, James, interviewed by Barrow examined unfavourable, however the buddy he shared a automotive from the airport with examined constructive, so he has discovered himself caught in lodge quarantine regardless.

With this in thoughts, as her journey approaches, Lucie Grace stays anxious about the opportunity of testing constructive.

“My biggest concern is that I test positive on arrival. I’m doing the ‘test and go’ scheme – one night in a quarantine hotel and a PCR test. If I test positive but am asymptomatic, it’s a grey area as to whether the mandatory health insurance covers the expensive 14-day hospital stay,” she says.

“Some horror stories are coming out of £7k hospital bills, insurance companies saying ‘You’re not sick so it’s not covered’. That is my nightmare.”

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