Phuket will be reopened to fully vaccinated international travellers from 1 July, 2021, but ‘final’ official details are under review by the Royal Thai Government.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has confirmed however that there will be no quarantine for foreign visitors under the Phuket “sandbox” scheme.
But significant hurdles remain: besides the number of documents that tourists have to prepare beforehand — vaccine certificates, Covid-19 certificates and health insurance — they must book hotels with SHA Plus certification (Thailand Safety and Health Administration) which has over 300 properties already enrolled in the programme.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the TAT will support Phuket’s efforts to restore its tourism industry and is stepping up plans to improve Phuket’s reputation, emphasizing safety during the period approaching high season.
He assured that, when the reopening takes place, tourists will be impressed with the measures put in place, from the airport to their hotels. That journey will involve three screenings, in addition to tracing measures and the mandatory use of phone tracking apps by the first rounds of foreign arrivals.
No sandbox for Thais and local residents
But a new regulation introduced this week has sparked another controversy as the CCSA has decided to make the “sandbox” program exclusive to international tourists and prohibit local residents and diplomats from taking part in quarantine-free entry through Phuket.
Phuket Sandbox At a glance
- Applicable for international travellers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days before the travel date. They must also be from countries/regions with a low to medium risk of SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and constantly updated by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
- Applicable for children under 6 years of age travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians.
- Applicable for children between 6 and 18 years of age travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but they are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at their own expense.
- All vaccinated international arrivals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- All arrivals are required to download and install the alert application.
- All arrivals are required to stay in an accommodation establishment that is certified with the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification.
- For travellers who wish to visit Phuket only, no minimum stay is required but they must leave Phuket (Thailand) for another country on or before the intended departure date;
- For travellers who wish to continue the journey to other Thai destinations, they must stay in Phuket for 14 nights, and thereafter will be allowed to travel domestically.
- All COVID-19 tests must follow the guidelines by the MoPH.
- Travellers are allowed to engage in any tourism activities but are advised to strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.
Foreign Traveller Journey
In order to be eligible to enter in Thailand, vaccinated international travellers – and their children – need to have all of their advance arrangements in good order for arrival and entry. These include:
- A vaccine certificate to proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no less than 14 days before the travel date with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO);
- A valid visa;
- A Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate;
- A COVID-19 health insurance policy with a minimum coverage of US$100,000;
- A confirmation of booking in a SHA Plus-certified accommodation establishment.
- A medical certificate with an RT-PCR laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
- Undergo Immigration and Customs procedures, and a COVID-19 screening, including RT-PCR tests;
- Download and install the alert application;
- Check-in at the pre-booked SHA Plus-certified accommodation establishment.
- Undergo a COVID-19 test using an RT-PCR method on Day 5 of your arrival per the MoPH’s guidelines;
- Engage in tourism activities or enjoy services in SHA Plus-certified venues and businesses, under the DMHTTA precautions;
- For emergency in case of having respiratory or other related symptoms, please alert the staff at your accommodation or contact the nearest hospital;
- The operator/owner of the accommodation establishment is required to report the name list and status of all foreign guests to the provincial authority on a daily basis.
- For travelling from Phuket to other Thai destinations, travellers are required to show a vaccine certificate and a medical certificate that they have tested negative for COVID-19;
- For travelling from Phuket to other countries, travellers are advised to follow the guidelines and measures announced by the respective country of destination.