Thailand on Tuesday confirmed it will suspend its Thailand Pass and Test & Go programs until next year due to fears over Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The decision to suspend Test & Go means that mandatory quarantine is now reinstated.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told Thai news outlets on Tuesday afternoon that the suspension of Thailand Pass and Test & Go were necessary in order to stop the spread of Omicron in Thailand.
No new registrations for Thailand Pass or Test & Go will be processed until at least January 4, 2022, Mr Anutin said.
However, 90,000 people who had registered on Thailand Pass and received a QR code will still be allowed to enter Thailand but will be required to take two additional RT-PCR tests.
The move was also confirmed by government spokesperson Rachada Dhanadirek who said: “After Dec. 21, there will be no new registrations for ‘Test and Go’, only quarantine or Phuket sandbox.”
The move to suspend both Thailand Pass and Test & Go is a hammer blow not just the tourism industry in Thailand as a whole but particularly to the tourism industry in Hua Hin.
The suspension comes just days after entry rules were eased, which would have enabled more foreign tourists to visit Hua Hin.
On Monday, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told Thai TV that his ministry would recommend the suspension of Test & Go.
However, the sudden nature of Tuesday’s announcement is likely to have caught both tourists and the tourism sector in Thailand by surprise.
*Post updated to include additional information from the Tourism Authority.