Travel during the pandemic has arrived in stages. Whilst the earlier stages saw precious little travel going on, later stages saw travel possible due to the widespread availability of testing. Now, it seems, we are in the most recent stage of pandemic travel – travel for those who are vaccinated.
That certainly seems the case for Thailand, which is set to open one of its most popular destinations, Phuket, to travelers who have been vaccinated without having to quarantine. Here’s a closer look at the plan, why you should consider heading to Phuket and a look at the entry requirements for Thailand.
Phuket To Open – Information For Travelers
Thailand’s dependence on tourism can’t be overstated. With around 40 million tourists entering the country in 2019 – and with tourism representing around 13% of Thailand’s total economy – there’s little surprise that the country is doing all that it can in order to kickstart tourism.
Phuket – Thailand’s largest island and one of its most popular travel destinations – is a shadow of its former self at present. Highly reliant on tourism, the province has been something of a ghost town of late, with its once-teeming promenades now home to row upon row of shuttered shopfronts and empty beaches. However, the latest scheme by the Thai government could be about to change that.
Today, a plan put forward by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate at least 70% of the island’s residents in order to prepare for the arrival of vaccinated travelers was approved by a panel chaired by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha.
Thailand’s costly quarantine has long been seen as a prohibitive factor when it comes to restarting tourism in the country, yet the plan will allow vaccinated tourists to skip quarantine in Thailand altogether.
In order to facilitate the plan, Phuket is to be given priority with regards to Thailand’s vaccine rollout. The province is expected to receive in the region of 930,000 doses prior to reopening, vaccinating around 70% of the population of the island and allowing the province to achieve herd immunity. The scheme is set to start on July 1st, and Thailand has predicted as many as 100,000 tourists arriving in the third quarter.
Why Visit Phuket?
There are several reasons why in 2019 Phuket received almost 10 million visitors. From its lively Patong district to the spectacular bays of Karon and Kata, Phuket is home to some of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches and natural landmarks, not to mention some of its fanciest hotels. However, Phuket is not just home to stunning beaches, paradisal islands and waterfall-filled national parks – it is also home to swanky shopping malls that wouldn’t be out of place in any country in the world. Perfect for any budget, from backpacker to boutique travelers, Phuket has something for everyone, and is bound to recover from the pandemic and go from strength to strength in the future.
How To Visit Thailand
Whilst the vaccinated may be able to visit Phuket more easily from July, it’s not as hard as you may think to visit Thailand. The country currently has visa exemption status with many countries, whilst those that aren’t covered by the scheme can apply for the Special Tourist Visa (STV), which grants up to 90 days in the country. Whilst the 14 days of quarantine may be off-putting, it is soon to go down to 10 days – and only 7 days for vaccinated travelers. For a comprehensive read on how to enter Thailand, please read here.
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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