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Phuket’s ‘safe and sealed’ plan does nothing for the majority of the island’s hospitality sector




Damned if they do and damed if they don’t. Thailand is now taking a decisive step towards reopenits its borders to tourists with a pilot project in Phuket this October. The pilot precedes the annual high-season, and if successful, then will form the basis of a wider push for re-opening the country’s borders to the lucrative tourist market.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says there are risks, whatever they decide.

“There is a risk in the new tourism model, but if we don’t open there is a bigger risk for the economy.”

But the restrictions put on the ‘experiment’ are still considerable and Phuket tourism and hospitality players wonder just how many ‘tourists’ will be wanting to, or even able, to participate. We’ll soon know.

Firstly, you’ll need to be visiting for a minimum of 30 days. Secondly, almost half that time will be in ‘quarantine’. But the quarantine will be bigger than staring at the walls of your hotel room and will include a radius of 1 kilometre. During the mandatory 14 day quarantine, each tourist will be required to pass two Covid-19 tests. After the 14 days, tourists will be free to travel within Phuket. After another week, and another test, they’ll be allowed to travel anywhere in Thailand.

Add to this, inbound flights during the trial period starting October 1, will most probably be chartered services only, as tourists are required to register with the Foreign Ministry and jump through additional paperwork hoops before entry.

In other words, you’ll REALLY want to be coming to Phuket to have go through all this fuss.

But the TAT and Tourism Ministry are confident that Thailand will be ready to seize the long-stay market seeking a warmer climate as the northern autumn and winter kick in. By the way, Phuket’s wettest month, by far, is also October

Yuthasak says each guest may spend a minimum of 30 days in Thailand to make a worthwhile trip, since 14 days must be spent in quarantine. TAT staff visited the Phuket hotels that have been registered for the scheme, particularly the capacity of the healthcare services, and discussed conditions with hotels that will be in place in the ‘safe and sealed’ area for their new guests.

All this will, of course, push up the cost of a tourist’s stay – the hotels WON’T be cheap. And the tourist will likely be under some sort of ‘microscope’ 24/7 as the government will want to keep track of their movements, even inside the 1 kilometre radius. Ankle bracelets? If not, how are the movements of the tourists ‘tracked’?

And will locals be able to mingle inside the 1 kilometre radius area? Will there be shops open within the 1 kilometre radius and do those staff have to ‘register’ or have regular health checks? If you’re a 3-star, or lower, or a guest house in Patong, good luck!

The Tourism and Sports Ministry’s “Phuket Model” will be the first location to try the new “Safe and Sealed” plan, where a group of alternative state quarantine hotels can jointly provide a 1 kilometre safe-space for guests during the first 14 days.

Phuket, whilst catering well for the high end tourist market, also has a long list of 3 star, and lower, hotels plus an entire tour and travel segment for the mass tourism market. Nothing in this plan will assist the vast majority of Phuket hotels and tour operators.


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  1. Crown72

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Crazy most normal tourist cant take long vacations and dont have the kind of money this would cost lets wait for bali September they won’t be this strict ? there still not thinking about local vendors trying to make a living well done ?????????

  2. richard barker

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    gotta start somewhere but as usual they really don’t know where the street dollars (or baht) comes from

    • Luigi

      Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      Impossible come in thailand with these restrictions.

  3. Stuart

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Totally unworkable plan. It may attract a few hundred people who want to return to Thailand, such as retirees who at the moment are stuck outside with no hope of getting back. There is another perspective too. As part of this plan staff at the hotels involved will be required to stay and quarantine in the hotels as long as they have guests arriving under the scheme. My partner is a manager in a 5 star hotel, and I can assure you the staff in general are not willing to do this.

    • Jynz

      Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      Retirees can’t afford this plan. They retire there because they can live cheap. There are currently only 3 asq in phuket. 1 cost about 100,000 baht with higher prices for other room. The other 2 start at 220,000 baht. The you have to pay for another hotel in phuket and a test for 7 days just to leave phuket. What retirees can afford this..

    • Ulli

      Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      Wir leben in Hua Hin und wollten im November nach Phuket. Sollte das Projekt anlaufen, wird sicherlich kein inländischer Tourist nach Phuket kommen. Die Gefahr wäre zu groß unter Quarantäne zu kommen. Schade, wir Residenten reisen auch gern.

  4. Maverick

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Smacks of politicians trying to demonstrate to the masses that they are doing something – reality is , certainly in Phuket where I live, many businesses are shut down permanently or mothballed and staff returned to their provinces. Outside of Rawai where there is a large expat community, most resorts are deserted hardly going to attract visitors . Thailand has taken a massive bet on a vaccine and it will cost them the high season in terms of tourism , letting tourists in from low risk Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia , Taiwan, Japan and Korea is a better option hygiene, masks and social distancing with contact tracing is only option short to medium term

  5. RS

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    It needs to start sonewhere but by the time they have this up and running, most of the restaurants that have managed to survive up to now will be dead too. And at most, a few hundred snowbirds will tty to come – 99% of potential visitors will stay home until next year at least

  6. Erik

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Thailand has 2 options.

    Or you open the borders without crazy castly demands and unworkable conditions. At most a test on departure and arrival. Life is not without risk!

    Or you wait for a properly working medicine or vaccine, somewhere in the middle of 2021.

    But stop those weird plans that very few tourists will accept!Thailand is not the center of the universe.

  7. Perceville Smithers

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    It appears someone has been reading the comment section on these Phuket Travel Bubble articles.

  8. Thomas

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    I know its a plan.
    But hello, they give you a 30 day visa of which I will spend 14 days in jail, plus 2 days in/out of jail. Than take off arrival/ departure day from Thailand. We are now at 18 days wasted. If you need/ want to go to the mainland, another 7 + 2 days (based on their logic). That leaves 3 days of actual holiday. And the whole thing will cost above 100000Bht for sure. Sorry TAT, but my money is better spend in the Maldives, Dubai, EU, Caribbean etc..
    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate your plan and I want to be with my family as well. I also don’t mind spending this money, but it needs to make sense (or value for money).
    Please go back to the drawing board.

    • Patrick Nouvel

      Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      The hot summer sun boiled the brains of supposed to be tourists pro of TAT. Pityful!!! Even the US CDC now do not recommend quarantines anymore.

  9. bob

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 12:28 am

    “After the 14 days,tourists will be free to travel within Phuket. After another week, and another test, they’ll be allowed to travel anywhere in Thailand.”

    How does this work, would this mean people in Phuket who have potentially been in contact with these 2md phase quarantine tourists freely travelling around Phuket will also need to do a test to leave Phuket?

  10. Preesy Chepuce

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 4:09 am

    Nobody’s going to pay for that when there are so many better options.
    People go on holiday to relax and have new experiences. This proposal sounds like an oppressive work scheme or luxury refugee internment camp. Why bother?!

  11. Richard

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 9:14 am

    As most if you have pointed out the conditions when in Thailand but just to get there is another thing getting all the documents and Covid test before flying, Then add another 14 days back in your home country the costs keeps rising and the amount of holiday you have to take for that short trip is not worth it rather spend it locally without all the hoops you have to jump through.

  12. TS

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Yes-back to the drawing board. And pin another medal on that minister for her’PHUKET MODEL’ before she finds out the high dollar tourists won’t be flying into a scammy town quarantine in the worst rainy season month (or any month). That place has been on the tourist no-go list long before covid hit. Its worth 3 days tops or not; then get out to someplace truly Thai with better beaches and freindly locals.

    better idea? Forget having china build the LOF any more stupid 11+billion per copy $ubmarines to patrol the 200ft deep gulf of Thailand and buy up as many quick check covid tests as you can. Get them online pre board/on arrival then open this joint up. To expats that wanna get back as well as tourists if they still wanna come. People are going bankrupt by the second and they can’t survive on your so-called low interest buiness loans and single destination w/quarantine opening schemes. The country needs tourists everywhere-backpackers, families, high rollers, independent travellers. You know- sort of like it used to be but with a few xtra precautions.

    • Nuy

      Monday, August 24, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      30 days can stay in Phuket but 14+2 days in ASQ already waste of time but still have to do I understand covid situation. 7 more days in anywhere in Phuket the 5 more days left to go to mainland. So you probably spend over 200000 THB if you have 2 or 3 members.
      But for foreigners who have Retirement visa still aren’t allowed to come to Thailand even they have own a flat in Thailand.

      So I will say if Phuket open for tourists somehow it sounds good for some Farrangs who want to return back to their families in Thailand will come if it less paperwork than going on repatriation fight.

      But for me NO too much money just to stay at ASQ it means that I might spend over 100000 thb just to see the wall in the room.

  13. Graham Walker

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Yeah agree,totally unworkable and I bet not cheap. I have been trying to get back to my house in Thailand since May (no success yet), cannot even get any contact with Embassy in London (phones or e’mail) so how do they expect it to be any better with this farce ?
    I had a retirement visa but that has now expired, Thai Consulate in Scotland is not even open.

  14. Toby Andrews

    Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Please sir can I have some more?
    Not much chance with these stupid Thais, who think Thailand is so wonderful that foreigners will stand these conditions to spend any time on rip off island Phuket.
    I was there years ago and never went back.

    • TS

      Monday, August 24, 2020 at 10:43 am

      Thai word for scam/ripoff: ‘phuket’

      Slang for one falling for this idiotic ‘sealed & safe’ scheme:

    • me

      Monday, August 24, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      why are you still commenting, toby? i swear if i were to ever catch you slipping, i’d smack the hell out of you.

      • Toby Andrews

        Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 4:20 pm

        I will smack the hell out of you if I ever meet you big mouth.
        All I see from you is two lines at most, and it is never on the subject.
        Another thing you post late in the day. You are not even in the far east are you?
        By the way I did answer your last lame post, but it was not published.

        • simon

          Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 8:08 am

          Go on, Toby. Give him a smack

  15. Patrick Nouvel

    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    If I was not concerned being forced soon to bankrupt, those TAT incompetents would make me laught through their ever statistics and jokes decisions, day & night for years already…

  16. Lough

    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    The best way to stress test the system is to open when the hoardes CAN’T come, is it not? I think it makes sense to open when it’s likely to be quiet. Anyway, it’d work for me, so I’m a tad biased, ha.

  17. Stokecitylee.

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 12:01 am

    TAT come up with some bizarre ideas. Who will go just to spend time in a hotel prison? The whole scheme is unworkable and sadly it will have terrible consequences for all the poor workers who are forced to leave there villages to gain employment to send money home. Real shame they can’t come up with a workable solution. People will find somewhere else and Thailand ( the poor) are the one s who will lose out.

  18. simon

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 8:04 am

    This plan will benefit tourists in the long run – especially long-stay tourists i.e backpackers.

    Thais can forget about price gouging – with so much tourist infrastructure in place and so many people who don’t know how to make a living other than through tourism – the prices will plummet. Hotel, resorts, guesthouses, bars, restaurants will all start to reopen at a faster rate than the tourists will come back. It will be like the old days.

    The government will have to address the problems of scamming and violent crime though – these things are rearing their ugly heads again – this is what Thailand was like back in the 90’s with mass tourism well underway but bus hijackings and the like still happening.

  19. Sian

    Friday, August 28, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    My daughter lives in Thailand. Would we be able to quarantine with her or do we have to stay in an hotel.
    Anyone know ???

    • Alison

      Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 6:12 pm

      Yes, Id like to know the answer to that too. I would be coming from Europe and with my fiance coming from Malaysia.
      Did you get a reply?

  20. Alison

    Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Thaiger

    Thank you for this useful information.

    I am in Europe and desperate to get to Asia to see my fiance who is in Malaysia, we’ve been separated for over 6 months. So I would do pretty much whatever it takes to get into Thailand. I am more than happy with the quarantine period, as I would want to stay many months in Thailand/rest of Asia. He could do the same.

    Couple of questions:-
    – In the previous article, you state “the plan has already been approved by the government and the next step will involves holding a public hearing to get approval from local residents……The hearings are to be held at the start of next month.” Is it possible for you to input positive comments from people like me into the conversation?
    – Any idea on costs yet? I am also happy with 100,000 TBH – much better than having to pay the same for a hotel in Bangkok, and not being able to go outside
    – That said, I would prefer not Phuket. I hear Phi Phi/Samui/other might be possible. I guess after the Phuket model has been tested….?

    Feel free to email me



  21. Rickie Solomon

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 5:00 am

    This is a funny message

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