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14 day Phuket stay cuts predicted sandbox arrivals in half



Photo: Half as many people are predicted in Phuket's Sanbox launch after extending the arrival period to 14 days. (via Wikimedia)

The Tourism and Sports Ministry admitted today that the last-minute change in Phuket Sandbox Plan before being submitted to the government for approval from 7 days to 14 days required in Phuket for all arrivals will likely decrease by half the number of travellers who come. Extending the time required in Phuket before being allowed to travel throughout Thailand has frustrated and disenfranchised many would-be international tourists.

The Tourism and Sports Minister says that if there are no new infections in July the Sandbox plan can be revised back to the original 7-day waiting period on arrival. To be clear, the 14-day span is not a quarantine – tourist arrivals will be allowed to roam Phuket island freely and take part in many attractions and activities and will not be confined to their hotel room.

But all travel off the island including day trips and excursions, OUT OF THE PROVINCE will be strictly forbidden. But trips to island close to Phuket’s coast, like Coral Island, Naka Island Coconut Island and Racha Island are expected to be permitted.

The Ministry will work alongside the Marine Department, the Tourist Police Bureau, and the governor of Phuket along with private sector assistance to make sure that nobody leaves the island during that two-week arrival timeframe.

While waiting through the 14 day arrival period, travellers will be swab tested on the day of arrival, the sixth day, and the 12th day to confirm that they are negative for Covid-19, according to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration.

All arrivals to Phuket must be fully vaccinated with the exception of young children travelling with vaccinated adults. The scheme also does not permit tourists from high-risk regions such as Africa and South Asia until the Covid-19 situation improved in their home country.

The government still hopes to attain its goal of 129,000 international travellers in the third quarter of 2021, despite cutting the estimation of arrival in July from 29,700 to only 14,850 after blowback from the 14-day rule. They believe that an increase of arrivals in August and September will allow them to still reach that goal.

The Tourism and Sports Minister did mention that 400 to 500 British Navy personnel will stop in Phuket for a one-week holiday while they are participating in a naval drill in the area and that a tourist group from the United States is scheduled to travel on July 9.

A 10 billion baht tourism fund to create liquidity for Phuket businesses to be able to accommodate customer arrivals as they reopen is being planned with the Finance Ministry. The tourism and sports Ministry confirm the plan in a meeting with the Thai Hotels Association, the Association of Thai Travel Agents, the Thai Spa Association, the Association of Domestic Travel, and the Thai Transportation Operators Association.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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