Thailand to allow quarantine-free travel from 46 countries, PM says

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Phuket reopens to overseas tourists
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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will let vaccinated visitors from 46 countries forgo COVID-19 quarantine from next month, up from 10 previously announced, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday.

The Southeast Asian country is poised to introduce the new quarantine-free travel arrangements on Nov. 1 as it seeks to revive its vital tourism industry.

The 46 countries include Britain, the United States, China, Singapore, Germany and Australia, according to the ministry of foreign affairs.

Prayuth said the visitors could skip mandatory quarantine as long as they arrive via air, have been fully vaccinated and have a document to show they are virus-free.

Thailand will reopen the capital Bangkok and other key tourist destinations, including Hua Hin and Pattaya, where curfews will be lifted at the end of the month, according to the Royal Gazette released late on Thursday.

Strict entry requirements and quarantine measures helped keep Thailand's coronavirus outbreaks under control until recent months, but the curbs saw arrival numbers plummet to a fraction of the nearly 40 million visitors seen in 2019.

Thailand lost about $50 billion in tourism revenue last year, an 82% plunge.

It started with a pilot reopening that began on July 1 on its most popular island, Phuket, which has been vaccinating most of its local population.

Just 100,000 foreign visitors are expected this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Orathai Sriring; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Nick Macfie and Andrew Heavens)