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Visitors to Thailand Can Quarantine on a Yacht in Phuket

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Thailand, in an effort to bolster tourism to the kingdom, has announced that instead of spending their 10 day mandated quarantine in one of the designated hotels tourists may instead opt to spend their isolation at sea.

The initiative was announced earlier this month by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), in partnership with the telecom service Advanced Info Services (AIS) and the Thai Yachting Business Association.

There is one catch. You have to bring your own yacht.

The government is hoping the initiative will bring in 1.8 billion thb ($58M USD) in yacht tourism revenue and give the struggling economy a much needed boost. Thailand has historically been largely dependent on tourism as a main contributor to the developing country’s growing economy. This all came to a screeching halt last year, as the kingdom was forced to close its borders due to the spread of the coronavirus.

A Struggling Economy

Many Thai businesses and business owners are feeling the effects of the loss of tourism. Phuket, a popular tourist hotspot and the location of the yacht quarantine, saw daily tourists plummet from 40,000 – 50,000 per day to just hundreds. Once thriving walking streets and businesses are now boarded up and in ruins, awaiting the return of the tourists who were instrumental to the financial stability of the area.

Thanawait Bonsapoon, a bar owner in the city, had this to say:

“It’s sad. This was once such a happy place. People were walking all up and down the streets, hanging out and having fun. Boats were on the water, and markets filled the street. Now it's like a ghost town.”

The effects are not limited to Phuket. According to analysis from the Bank of Thailand, the Thai economy is forecasted to be headed in a similar direction as last year, which saw a 6.1% negative growth for national GDP. While the country has gradually been opening borders since October of last year, recent surges have left it unable to fully open up and accept tourists.

Phuket street

Innovative Solutions

The kingdom, however, has not given up on trying to entice tourists to come visit in spite of the mandatory two week quarantine. In January, they announced that tourists would be allowed to quarantine on golf resorts and would be able to play while they were in “isolation”

The yacht scheme comes on the heels of the first successful wave of the Villa Quarantine Project. Tourists had to stay in a hotel for 5 days, after which time they were tested once again for Covid-19.

Yacht in Thailand phuket waters

The yacht scheme comes on the heels of the first successful wave of the Villa Quarantine Project. Tourists had to stay in a hotel for 5 days, after which time they were tested once again for Covid-19.

If the test came out negative, they were allowed to take part in 5 activities: dining in restaurants, tennis, using the fitness centre and the beach and walking in designated areas while wearing a mask.

Woman on Yacht in Thailand

How Does it Work

All tourists visiting the country must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Formerly they would then have to spend 14 days in a government mandated hotel; however, they can now opt to spend that time at sea instead.

The programme has already begun fielding offers from yachts for a trial run. Once the project gets up and running, about 100 yachts will be participating in the program.

Fancy Yacht in Thailand

Travelers opting for the yacht program must wear a smart wristband that sends information on their vitals to a 10km radius. The device will track their health information, such as blood pressure and body temperature, and transmit it while they are on their yacht or cruise ship. The device also uses GPS to track tourists’ location.

With hopes for $58M USD coming in from the program, and 500 tourists expected to participate, the experience is very much aimed at the luxury travel market.

Boats in Thailand

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Mohammad Aziz

Sunday 25th of April 2021

I think it's about time that the Vaccinated travellers should be allowed with -ve testing at the airport.

Simon Shanker

Sunday 25th of April 2021

Not good enough. Thailand's dictator govt. needs to realize they are no different or better than Europe. If Europe is allowing vaccinated travelers beginning June 2021 then Thailand can do the same. They are obviously not worried about the wellbeing of their citizens, or else they wouldn't be killing and torturing their political protestors.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

Thailand apparently is doing everything it can to keep its tourism shut down. It's just one stupid rule after another...

Thailand: We're not gonna let you come here normally, travel is finished! Bwahaha!

Mexico: I'm about to end that country's whole career.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

Wristband GPS trackers? What in the holy hell? Quarantining on yachts?? So basically anyone who isn’t wealthy is not allowed to visit Thailand anymore. Elitism is the new rule for travel. Really makes me question why everyone took vaccines then


Sunday 25th of April 2021

one silly idea after another. who is in charge there?