The Thai government has confirmed its plan to reopen Thailand to foreign tourists, starting with Phuket province as a pilot destination on July 1st, using the Phuket Sandbox model.
Visitors who travel by air to Phuket must provide documents to prove that they have received both COVID-19 vaccine doses. They are required to undergo rapid antigen tests, or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT- PCR) tests, at their place of origin, and to register on www.gophuget.com and the MorChana application.
The TAT aims to attract 129,000 visitors to Thailand in the third quarter of this year, through the “Phuket Sandbox” project, where fully vaccinated tourists, who have tested negative for COVID-19, can visit Phuket for a minimum period of seven days, before travelling to other provinces with airports.
“All of us at the Tourism Authority of Thailand share the excitement and anticipation of everyone in Phuket in the preparation to welcome back foreign tourists in the not-too-distant future. From 1 July, 2021, vaccinated foreign tourists will be allowed to visit Phuket without quarantine, so the countdown starts now to the reopening of Phuket!”Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor
However Mr Yuthasak said an official announcement of the Phuket sandbox model in the Royal Gazette will take place around mid-June after receiving approval from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the cabinet.
The Phuket sandbox is expected to generate 11.49 billion baht in tourism receipts from 129,000 tourists in the first three months from 85,000 travellers in the long-haul market while short-haul countries, excluding China, will contribute 44,000 tourists.
Virus variants may spill the “sandbox”
The type of virus variants present in each country will serve as criteria to determine low to medium-risk countries and dictate the minimum required length stay for tourists in Phuket as other sandbox areas gear up for new reopening dates, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Discussions are underway for travel from Phuket to nearby areas, while Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Buriram, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan are expected to open for quarantine-free visits, following the Phuket model, in October, according to a ThaiPBS report.