Thailand announces long-stay tourist visa

Almost daily, new headlines announce the lifting of travel restrictions in the region, as well as the resumption of international flights.

But if you look at the fine print, few of these changes mean much for leisure travelers, but rather apply to business travelers and foreign residents.

"I think the idea that we're going to go back to borders being thrown open any time soon is just not going to happen," says Gary Bowerman, founder of Check-in Asia, a tourism-focused research and marketing company.

The pressure to stem the economic loss while balancing the risk of a virus resurgence remains heavy. In addition to nations being afraid they will import further cases of Covid-19 by opening the doors to tourists, Bowerman points out that "it's very difficult to get other countries to agree to let travelers come because they know at some point they're going to be coming back and could reimport the virus."

Australia, for instance, has some of the strictest rules in the world, banning its citizens from traveling abroad for leisure tourism. Thousands of Australians are now stranded overseas due to a cap on international arrivals, with only 4,000 allowed in per week.

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