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TAT pushes for Indonesia, Malaysia to be added to approved list for Phuket sandbox

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Flickr/Andaman4fun

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says there is demand in the Malaysian and Indonesian markets, but both countries are currently off the approved list for the Phuket sandbox. The Bangkok Post reports that Sophon Tantayotai from the TAT’s Jakarta office says Indonesians are allowed to travel abroad but cannot avail of the Phuket sandbox, instead having to quarantine for 14 days if they come to Thailand. The reason given is that Indonesia is still considered high-risk, following a severe Covid-19 outbreak in July.

According to the Bangkok Post, at the height of the outbreak, cases peaked at 60,000 a day, but the situation is much improved since then, with new infections dropping to between 3,000 and 5,000 a day in mid-August. Around 20% of the country is now fully vaccinated, although the figure is closer to 100% in Jakarta. Another stumbling block for Indonesian travellers interested in Thailand is that they would have to carry out 8 days of quarantine on their return. Nevertheless, Sophon says the eventual re-opening of Bangkok is likely to generate further interest from Indonesian tourists. In 2019, Thailand welcomed 709,613 visitors from Indonesia, contributing 18.2 billion baht in revenue.

“The Phuket sandbox alone might not attract huge demand as tourists would like to combine Bangkok in their plans. Re-opening the capital will help revive volume from the Indonesian market.”

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, Nongyao Jirundorn from the TAT’s Kuala Lumpur office, says locals are not permitted to travel internationally for now. Malaysia is also not on the approved list for the Phuket sandbox. However, the country was the second largest tourism market for Thailand before Covid-19, with 4.2 million tourists generating 107 billion baht, according to the Bangkok Post report. Nongyao says Malaysians have expressed interest in the Phuket sandbox and nearly 80% of Malaysians are now fully vaccinated.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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