BANGKOK, March 27– Thailand plans to waive mandatory quarantine for vaccinated foreign tourists arriving on the resort island of Phuket starting July 1 to help revive the tourism industry that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In preparation for the reopening, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said at least 70 per cent of the island’s residents would be vaccinated.
The “Phuket Tourism Sandbox” initiative, proposed by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), will be the first reopening for vaccinated tourists before the kingdom expands it to other tourist destinations such as Koh Samui, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Krabi.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, who chaired the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) meeting today, approved the “Phuket Tourism Sandbox” initiative and instructed TAT to discuss the plan with Phuket’s governor and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) before implementation.
He said vaccinated tourists could fly to Phuket without having to undergo quarantine.
Local media reported that Phuket would need 925,000 doses of the vaccine to inoculate 70 per cent of its population.
The “Phuket Tourism Sandbox” initiative is pending Cabinet approval.
Once approved, the resort island will reopen three months earlier than other provinces. Thailand plans to reopen its door to vaccinated foreign tourists without them having to undergo quarantine in October.
Media reported that TAT expects at least 100,000 visitors to Phuket in the third quarter of this year.
Starting April 1, visitors to Thailand will undergo 10 days quarantine compared to two weeks and it will be further reduced to a week for vaccinated foreign tourists with vaccination certificates.