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We took a poll in Phuket… re-opening the island in July

Tim Newton



The Thaiger put up a poll on our YouTube channel yesterday. Completely unscientific, but trying to guage some of the viewers opinions about the latest plan, Phuket Sandbox, to open up Phuket, in July this year, as a pilot for future re-openings around Thailand for travellers, without quarantine.

With the government claiming that the plan won’t go ahead unless 70% of the island’s population are already vaccinated against Covid-19, there remains as many questions as there are answers to this plan. What about the expats? What vaccinations will be used? How will the residents be alerted? Who will be the 30% who won’t be vaccinated before July? Where will the vaccinations take place? Which department will manage all the additional ‘vaccination’ paperwork for arrivals? Will passengers still have to apply for visas at the Thai embassy in their country? Will they still have to buy specific insurance policies against Covid-19 before their journey?

At this stage, as a Phuket resident, I have heard NOTHING, nada, zip, zero about this plan. Even searching for information and contacting the Provincial Authority, no additional information is forthcoming. Basically “we haven’t been told yet” was the answer. You’re welcome to add your comments as well HERE.

Obviously it will be great to have some sort of schedule to get ready for re-opening Phuket but vaccinations are only a part of what will be required to make Phuket a viable tourist destination again. But to walk a mile you have to start with a single step, etc, etc.

Here are some of the other responses, out of 280 comments, to our quick poll…

We took a poll in Phuket... re-opening the island in July | News by ThaigerJames
I doubt enough of the folks on Phuket will be willing and able to get vaccinated by July to reach that target.

I have kept in contact with many Thais , some living in the province of Phuket and has not heard anything about this plan, even though the vaccine is being planned for distribution.

Doing 70% of residents not good enough. What about everyone else? Most people working there are registered elsewhere. And of course the expats?

Will Open Just when the Rain Starts

I just don’t see it being sustainable for businesses if you still require to social distance, wear masks and limit the amount of people you are travelling with. More than 70% of Phuket tourists are group travellers. It won’t bring enough numbers in to sustain a business. Open up fully with no quarantine, no social distancing, no masks, no limits on groups, no testing. If these rules are not applied then you can kiss Patong beach and Phuket businesses goodbye forever. But I guess thats what the globalists want right? World longevity? Sustainable environment? Every political move seems based around the World Economic Forum. There is a plan for most countries. Covid is just the gateway to the end goal

I have not heard anything about where we can get vaccinated here in Phuket. I got an email from Bangkok Hospital to guage interest in the vaccine and the brand you would like to take (last week) but if they are only at that stage of gathering data and ordering vaccines then I don’t think we will reach 70% within 3 months.

The problem here is other countries are well in front of Thailand on vaccine rollout. And that Burmese undocumented persons problem.. And many older Thais with no ID card. Expect chaos corruption.. and delay. And ideas changing every 14 days. Phuket is finished as a tourist destinations for the foreseeable future. Mal-administration is Thailand’s problem.

I can’t see that there will be free and open travel until 2022 at the earliest, I hope I’m proven incorrect but at this point I don’t see it.

Just another ‘plan’/ ‘model’ made out of desperation as a result of missing tourist dollars, the Thai government should implement measures that are genuinely meant for the safety of the Thais and the tourists, not just act out of desperation to get the go go bars rolling again, any step they take should be credible and long term, not one that is going to jeopardise peoples health just to make money ? so no point rushing ✌


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  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:22 am

    All your replies, and probably most of those completing the poll, very clearly appear to be from farangs and there appears to be a big difference between what farangs watching / reading Thaiger think and want and what Thais on Phuket actually want – and a vast, yawning gulf between what farangs think Thais on Phuket want and what Thais there actually want.

    In a Phuket News survey last month, “Overall, 28% of respondents voted an outright “Yes” to taking a COVID vaccine, and a further 28% voted “It depends on the vaccine”.
    The remaining 43% voted an outright “No” to taking a COVID vaccine.”

    Of those who voted ““It depends on which vaccine” (28.17%), of whom 15.18% were Thai nationals, 74.87% were local expatriate residents and the remaining 9.95% were foreign visitors to Phuket.” – so “it depends on which vaccine” for 85% of farangs, but only 15% of Thais.

    Most importantly “of the Thai nationals who took part in the poll 10.77% voted “Yes” and 14.87% voted “It depends on which vaccine”, but a huge 74.36% voted a plain “No”.

    That’s hardly a scientific poll, but if some 75% of the Thai readership of Phuket News do NOT want to be vaccinated then there would seem to be very little chance that 70% of Phuket’s residents will be vaccinated.

  2. Avatar

    Big Al

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    29-March, 2021

    Daily News Briefs

    Thailand‘s Government reported international tourists will be permitted entry to Phuket from Jul-2021 without quarantine, on the condition they provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine (Kyodo News/TTR Weekly, 27-Mar-2021). The government will prioritise vaccinating locals on the island prior to the entry of foreigners.
    Reported in Todays News Flash Corporate Travel Community

  3. Avatar


    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Really quite shameful to re-publish comments like that left by ‘Lightning’. Conspiracy theories about ‘the globalists’ having ‘a plan for most countries’ are not only completely insane, they are generally thinly veiled antisemitism. It is irresponsible and inexcusable to give psychotic delusions like this a platform.

  4. Avatar


    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    It’s called freedom speech. The same way you have an opinion on these matters, others have opinions as well that may differ from yours. You should respect that instead of going cancel culture on people. You are not the end all be all. Your opinion isn’t the only one.

  5. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    Sorry no way will they have 70% vaccinated in 3 months
    So just forget about this tourism idea it is way too early for the safety of Thailand from this Virus
    Actually, I have some news for you guys with Vaccines
    I was given my first shot Today(Australia) (not that Chinese Vac) The good one
    My wife in Bangkok also had 1 last week (cos worry of Virus there)
    The interesting fact here is We both had the same Vaccine
    HOWEVER, I was told for the Vaccine to be fully effective have to wait 12 weeks for the 2nd shot
    My wife was told her 2nd shot would be in 3 weeks (what is Thailand doing here ???)
    Second shots way too early to be fully effective in the body against virus why?
    MY point is if the 12 weeks wait is the most effective how can 70% be fully vaccinated in 12 weeks anyway
    Thailand and its Gov and rules and ideas will never cease to amaze me

    As Thailand is today I don’t know why anybody would wish to live there fulltime

    Good Luck Thailand

  6. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5:14 am

    Roger Bruce it isn’t 12 weeks, some countries including UK are leaving the 2nd dose for 12 weeks so they can give more people the first dose, it was originally going to be 3 weeks between doses, either way it is equally effective.

    As for vaccinating 70% of the population, that’s around 250,000 people I think, easily achievable in a couple of weeks if you have the supply and the people to administer it, the big question is who will want it, but seeing as there are zero cases on Phuket I don’t really see it as a problem.

  7. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Phuket authorities are reaching out to the Phuket Thai citizens. Yesterday, March 30th, my wife and her community circle were contacted for Covid-19 vaccination preparations. Only Thai citizens are being considered during this preparation.. All contacted citizens will receive further instructions on their vaccination process within the next few days. All contact has been done through smart phones and the citizen are requested to call and make the first contact. On a separate note: Most of the Thai citizens in our community (Ban Nai Yang, by Phuket Airport) support the vaccination program.

  8. Avatar

    Look ni

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 1:22 am

    It is not really about vaccination, more about lockdown and test & trace (if u can ever get it working).
    In any case, the vaccination program is destined to fail because most Thais are being asked by their government to visit a private hospital and pay 2,000b – not much fun if you are an elderly person sitting in a village and waiting for a post-songkran visit from your loving grand children in the city.
    Sorry, but I see the miserly Thai OCD obsession with money, the short-term and family behind this.
    The answer is to think of the nation, think long-term, and let go the tight-fists. Why? Because you want value, not minimised spend.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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