Thailand will relax travel restrictions for citizens from 56 countries in an attempt to balance the health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Travellers from places including Australia, France, and the US, will be able to enter without visas, but are required to present a negative test certificate prior to departure. They will also need to undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine upon arrival, according to Reuters.

The past few months have seen the country close its doors to foreign tourists for the most part. While daily case numbers remain negligible, hovering in the low double digits, the border closure has taken a toll on Thailand’s tourism-reliant economy.

“The entry of tourists will stimulate the economy,” said a foreign ministry spokesperson, according to Reuters. “We are confident in the Thai public health system, before this we were not sure, but now we are confident in the system.”

The Thai government had considered categorising countries into low-risk and high-risk buckets, but the rapid changes and recent surge in cases globally proved to be a challenge. They instead opted to admit most nationalities, but use hotel quarantines and testing as a means to mitigate potential risks, reported Bloomberg.

Tourists ineligible for visa-free travel under the arrangement will be able to apply for a 90-day special tourism visa and certificate of entry.