5 other provinces adopting Phuket’s sandbox reopening model

5 other Thai provinces will be adopting Phuket’s sandbox model between the months of October and December, with a full reopening of Thailand, set to take place in January 2022. The Tourism Authority of Thailand governor says the plan to reopen the tourism provinces will need local residents’ support and a detailed map of where tourists would be allowed to visit.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired a meeting with the Centre for Economic Situation Administration yesterday, where they approved a 3 stage roadmap to reopen Phuket, Phangnga, Surat Thani, Krabi, Chon Buri, and Chiang Mai to vaccinated visitors.

From April to June, those approved provinces will allow inoculated tourists to undergo a 7 day quarantine, instead of a 14 day one. Eventually, those provinces will follow Phuket in allowing tourists to skip the quarantine requirement if they have been vaccinated. Phuket is the first province in Thailand to get a tourism sandbox model approved.

But the travel activities of tourists will be restricted to “sealed routes” in Phuket for 7 days before they are allowed to travel to other locations. The tourists will still be required to use contact-tracing apps.

The government is expediting the 2 dose vaccination process to inoculate 70% of the local residents in an effort to achieve a herd immunity before July 1, as officials say the plan cannot be successful without first achieving a herd immunity.

About 100,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Phuket between April and June with more coming in July and onward. In total, about 6.5 million foreign visitors are expected to arrive this year after the country reopens, with an early reopening aiming to help the economy quickly recover.

Under the sandbox scheme, tourists who want to join the quarantine-free programme are required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport or International Air Transport Association travel pass. Thais who are arriving from abroad need only to show either a fit-to-fly certificate, or a RT-PCR test.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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