Thailand is the latest to announce a tourism reopening as the Southeast Asian country plans to welcome back international visitors to Phuket this summer with an option to skip its mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.
The catch? You must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Phuket, the capital of Thailand’s Phuket Province and a world-famous beach destination, will be the first region in Thailand to waive quarantine, starting July 1, for vaccinated guests, and reports indicate that other hotspots, such as Koh Samui, will soon do the same.
The news comes following a report in the Bangkok Post that the Thai government is looking to vaccinate 70 per cent of the island’s residents before the tourists return.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says visitors to the island will be required to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in their home country before entering Phuket under the Phuket Tourism Sandbox.
"I will reopen the country in the sandbox model by limiting the trail to some areas," Mr Phiphat said, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
Before the global pandemic, tourism contributed to one-fifth of Thailand’s economy.
Under the new guidance, Phuket will reopen three months earlier than the rest of Thailand, which is expected to welcome back fully inoculated visitors by October.
The success of this plan, however, hinges on international vaccine passport agreements and negotiations with other countries to allow free travel, reports say.
Disease Control Department director-general Opas Karnkawinpong said on Friday (March 26) the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration had agreed to reduce quarantine periods from 14 to 10 days, for both Thais and foreigners, from April 1.
Foreigners will be required to have a "COVID-free certificate,” but Thais can be tested at their place of quarantine, reports say.
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