Around the world, it is clear to see that there are two contrasting approaches to dealing with Covid-19 that various countries have adopted. On the one hand, the likes of the UK are repealing their Covid-19 restrictions and allowing travelers to spread their wings once more.
However, on the opposite side of the coin, some countries are unfortunately having to add to their restrictions – and Thailand is certainly one of them. Whilst schemes such as the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus may be attracting foreign tourists, the country is taking extreme measures to prevent anyone from traveling to certain areas of the country – including Bangkok. Here’s everything you need to know about this story.
Covid-19 In Thailand – What Travelers Should Know
Statistically speaking, the situation in Thailand does not look to be all that bad when considering their current level of Covid-19 cases. Their 7-day average of just above 9,000 cases is only slightly worse than similarly-sized countries such as France and is far low than that of the UK’s. However, the statistics don’t tell the full story. Just this month, Thailand has set records for the daily numbers of new cases and deaths, and the lack of access to affordable testing has caused some to speculate whether or not the true figure is much higher.
Thailand Bans Domestic Flights – Information For Travelers
Due to the troubling rise in the number of cases, Thailand has taken the extreme step of suspending most of its domestic flights. The measure, which is due to come into effect from Wednesday 21st July, will see all domestic flights to and from the capital city of Bangkok suspended. Flights to and from other “dark red” provinces are also to be suspended.
The current dark red provinces are:
Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Narathiwat, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Yala.
Flights to and from other locations are also set to be affected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s new rule change. Domestic flights to provinces that aren’t deemed high risk will only operate at 50% capacity, in a move that is set to put even more strain on the country’s ailing tourism industry. However, the announcement also stated that exceptions will be made for medical flights and emergency landing aircraft, as well as flights launched in connection with the country’s reopening programs.
The lack of flights to Bangkok is bound to come as a blow to the thousands of travelers that have entered the country on one of the such reopening programs. The most visited city in the world in 2019, Bangkok is a must-visit destination for any tourists coming to Thailand, and travelers will now have to take a long bus or train journey to visit the capital from Phuket or Koh Samui.
Despite the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country, the two aforementioned reopening schemes have started without much of a hitch. As of yesterday, Phuket had welcomed a total of 8,377 travelers into the country under the sandbox scheme, resulting in 229,716 hotel room bookings – an 80% increase for July. Whilst the Samui Plus scheme has yet to yield the same volume of travelers, a new flight from Phuket to Koh Samui is bound to lead to an increase in the number of travelers taking in both locations – especially now that Bangkok is off the menu.
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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