Foreign travellers return to Songkhla after Thailand lifts COVID-19 curbs

Songkhla is a popular tourist destination in southern Thailand and a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore.

The Sadao border crossing has seen an increase in travellers from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore since Jul 1, after the Thai government scrapped the pre-arrival registration system Thailand Pass and the requirement for travel insurance coverage worth US$10,000.

Data from the Sadao Immigration Office showed 3,862 arrivals on Jul 1 alone, compared to 1,338 arrivals on the same day last month.

The checkpoint was closed for more than two years due to the pandemic before reopening in April. However, it was not until Thailand eased travel requirements this month that more foreign tourists started to return to Songkhla.

“For example, in June, there were still many procedures to follow before they could travel here and tourists wouldn’t want to waste their time. Moreover, there were other expenses such as the insurance and COVID-19 tests,” an immigration official at the border crossing, who did not want to be named, told CNA.

“The insurance with US$10,000 coverage costs between 600 baht (US$17) and 700 baht which may not seem like a lot of money. But for a family of six to seven people, for instance, that’d cost them several thousand baht,” he noted.

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