Image by Sumit Chinchane

Phuket Model 2021

Minister of Tourism and Sport Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Friday (Mar 26) said the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, approved a three-stage roadmap to reopen six major tourism provinces – Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai – to vaccinated foreign visitors.

 

From April to June, inoculated foreign visitors arriving in these provinces will only be required to undergo quarantine in hotels or other designated facilities for seven days, he said.

From July to September, vaccinated tourists can visit Phuket without having to undergo quarantine under the “Phuket Tourism Sandbox” campaign, which is touted as a model for the reopening of the country’s tourism industry, Mr. Phiphat said.

 

Despite the quarantine waiver, the travel activities of tourists will be restricted to “sealed routes” on Phuket for seven days before they are allowed to visit other locations, he said. Tourists are still required to use contact tracing apps, Mr. Phiphat added.

He said that between October and December, Phuket’s sandbox model will be applied to five other tourism provinces. A full reopening of the country is expected to take place in January, Mr. Phiphat said.

 

“The CESA approved in the reopening plan in principle to allow foreign tourists who have received two vaccine doses to visit Phuket from July 1 without having to undergo quarantine, as proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand,” Mr. Phiphat said.

Phuket is better-equipped to serve as the sandbox model to accommodate tourists first as the government will expedite the two-dose vaccination [process] for at least 70% of the population in Phuket before July 1,” Mr. Yuthasak said.

 

About 100,000 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Phuket between April and June and more foreign arrivals are expected from July onward, he said. In total, about 6.5 million foreign visitors are expected to arrive this year after the reopening of the country, Mr. Yuthasak said, adding that an early