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Thailand Confirms Phuket Will Open To Vaccinated Tourists On July 1st

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The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) has confirmed its plans to reopen Phuket to vaccinated international tourists on July 1st, 2021. Despite being one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations – attracting almost 40 million visitors annually – Thailand has been challenging to enter since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“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!” said Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor

The Thai authorities will allow visitors from low-risk countries to fly directly to Phuket. It will be the beginning of a pilot scheme named the Phuket Sandbox. The scheme will allow tourists to visit Phuket directly and enjoy a vacation on Thailand’s most popular island without quarantine. However, the Thai authorities haven’t decided on which countries are classed as low-risk. 

The TAT will advise international tourists which countries qualify as low-risk in the coming weeks. Travelers can travel elsewhere in Thailand after they’ve spent seven days in Phuket, but they also suggest this is subject to change depending on the COVID-19 situation. 

Phuket Beach
Rairay beach, Krabi Thailand

Thailand’s Border Policy During The Pandemic 

Thailand has been open for visitors since 2020, but all incoming passengers have had to quarantine in a government hotel. Furthermore, travelers have needed a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the flight. Travelers also need travel insurance that covers treatment for COVID-19 up to the cost of $100,000. 

luxury resort villa trisara phuket thailand

Once you arrive in Thailand, you’ll take a PCR test at the airport. Then, the authorities will take you to government-approved quarantine facilities or alternative state quarantine. Despite the long quarantine process, some travelers have been delighted by the luxury hotels available for quarantine.

In addition, many of these hotels have introduced quarantine packages with excellent facilities and service to make your quarantine duration somewhat more bearable. 

Thailand has offered visitors a tourist visa exemption scheme, allowing visitors to stay for up to 45 days. However, they also introduced an STV, which will enable you to stay for 90 days.

You’ll need to visit your local Thai embassy or consulate to obtain this visa, and it must be within your home country. You can renew the STV two times during your stay before having to leave the country or change visas. 

The Current COVID-19 Situation In Thailand 

Thailand has managed to keep the virus at bay throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, the country has witnessed a large spike in cases.

For most of 2020, Thailand kept the pandemic out despite being the first country to record a case outside China. However, COVID-19 cases are around 2,230 per day in recent weeks, with many cases recorded inside prisons. 

BANGKOK, THAILAND – MAR 2020 : Crowd of unrecognizable business people wearing surgical mask for prevent coronavirus Outbreak in rush hour working day on March 18, 2020 at Bangkok transportation (BANGKOK, THAILAND – MAR 2020 : Crowd of unrecognizable

The country plans to mass-vaccinate its population in the coming months, and the nation has administered 3,609,882 vaccine doses so far. As a result, the country has only vaccinated 3% of its population so far. At that rate, the country will vaccinate 10% of its population in the next 142 days, but the authorities plan to speed this up

The country aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by the end of 2020, allowing the country to fully open up to tourism, an integral part of the economy and almost 18% of GDP before the pandemic began. Thailand has been in-and-out of lockdown in the previous weeks, but Bangkok has eased its lockdown in recent days. 

Tourism means a lot to Thailand, and the lack of visitors has wiped billions of dollars off the economy. Thailand believes its hugely important tourism sector may not fully recover until 2026.

Still, the opening of Phuket to vaccinated travelers is a clear sign that the country is preparing itself to open to the world and recover its crushed tourism industry.

Read More:

Covid-19 Travel Insurance – Everything You Need To Know

Countries Open For Vaccinated Travelers: The Complete List

Phuket Still On For July Reopening Despite Thailand’s Surge

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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EdwardV

Friday 4th of June 2021

As a small update, Thailand just approved the Sandbox scheme today (Fri). Yes I know it seems crazy it's so close to the opening date, and yet wasn't actually approved but that's the way Thailand works. There are a few notable changes. You will be allowed to transit in Bangkok (BKK) which will make getting a flight much easier. However the required stay in Phuket went from 7 to 14 nights. In addition, Thailand is banning day trips to neighboring islands like Koh Phi Phi or Phang Nga Bay. You are restricted to the island of Phuket for the entire 14 night stay. After which you can take a PCR test, wait the 1-3 additional days for a result, and then travel to other parts of Thailand.

EdwardV

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

To participate in the Phuket sandbox scheme in addition to the vaccination you will still need $100K in covid insurance, proof on a negative PCR test 72 hours before flight, and a valid visa and certificate of entry from your local Thai embassy. Again as pointed out you have to fly directly to Phuket, no connection from BKK will be allowed. You will be rapid tested upon arrival and at day 5, both at your cost. You will also only be allowed to stay at a Thailand Safely & Health Administration approved hotel for the first 7 nights. After the 7th night if you want to leave Phuket, you have to pass a PCR test (again at your expense). Since that test takes 2-3 days for results, you are actually stuck in Phuket for 9-10 days. The existing STV scheme where you quarantine in a ASQ hotel for 14 days will probably die off at that point. After all anyone wanting or needing to enter Thailand would rather spend 7 days running around Phuket than 14 days locked away in a quarantine hotel. Before you run off and buy tickets, keep in mind the tourist areas of Phuket have been devastated with over 80% of the business closed (many permanently). Also those hardy souls who will arrive early will need to cut a trail through the infamous Thai bureaucracy. Don't expect things to run smoothly, that's just the Thai way.

Matt

Friday 4th of June 2021

@sukumot it's now 14 days due to signed off Monday or Tuesday, maybe, piss up in a brewery comes to mind.

sukumot

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

@EdwardV, and if that wasn't enough, you aren't allowed to drink a Singha or a Leo in any restaurant anymore 😭