Phuket on track to open to tourists on 1 July

Tourism authority expects to welcome 129,000 visitors between July and September

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 01 June 2021 12:50 BST
<p>Blue view: a beach in Phuket, Thailand</p>

Blue view: a beach in Phuket, Thailand

The popular Thai holiday island of Phuket is on track to welcome back international tourists from 1 July.

Holidaymakers can fly direct to the island with no need to quarantine as part of the “Phuket Sandbox” pilot scheme.

However, the easing of restrictions will initially only apply to fully vaccinated travellers (and children under the age of six) from low-risk countries.

The relaxing of quarantine rules next month is dependent on the successful vaccine rollout across Phuket.

The aim is to ensure 70 per cent of the island’s population have received both Covid-19 jabs ahead of the reopening; so far, some 50 per cent of residents are vaccinated, according to local media reports.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has said it expects to welcome around 129,000 foreign tourists between July and September.

If Phuket’s pilot programme is successful, eight other tourist destinations in Thailand will reopen to international visitors in a similar manner over the next few months: Krabi, Phang-nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya, Bangkok, Buriram, Cha-am and Hua Hin.

“There will be a ‘standard of practice’ for each of these places, but there will be some variations depending on their geography,” TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn told CNN.

“Above all we have to prioritise the safety and health of the public to prevent further outbreaks.”

At present, most travellers to Thailand, including all British nationals travelling from the UK, are required to complete 14 days’ quarantine at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility.

“Whilst in ASQ, you will normally not be allowed to leave your room except for medical treatment or Covid-19 tests,” according to the Foreign Office.

Phuket’s vaccination push has proven controversial in some quarters, as only 1.6 per cent of Thailand’s general population have received both vaccine doses so far.

The country has fared much better than most throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but there are now fears of a third wave as Thailand reported 2,230 new cases of Covid-19 and 38 new deaths on 1 June.

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