Chiang MaiCoronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Mai applies to implement sandbox re-opening from August 1

PHOTO: Flickr/vanessaliu85

Officials in the northern province of Chiang Mai will be watching Phuket’s July 1 re-opening carefully, as they seek to follow suit a month later. The southern island will re-open to fully vaccinated tourists from qualifying countries in just over 3 weeks’ time and Chiang Mai hopes to do the same from August 1.

The sandbox program is the Thai government’s attempt to open safely to world travellers, in a controlled manor, from July. Initially in Phuket.

Narong Tananuwat from the Thai Chamber of Commerce says the northern province can’t afford to have its economy decimated any further. The proposal for the Chiang Mai sandbox would initially see the 4 districts of Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Doi Tao, and Muang opened to vaccinated foreign tourists, with the rest of the province opened from October 15.

Chiang Mai’s sandbox would consist of the “sealed route” model, whereby tourists would have to spend the first 7 days in the 4 districts and, after a negative Covid-19 test, would be permitted to travel elsewhere within the sealed route. Sightseeing itineraries would be restricted to the agreed route and to pre-approved local attractions, with independent travel off-limits. The proposal is being submitted to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for approval.

In Phuket, the current sandbox model calls for travellers to spend their first 14 days in the province before moving to other parts of Thailand. During their stay they can travel freely around the island which is 48 kilometres long and 21 kilometres wide.

Chiang Mai earned 100 billion baht in tourism revenue during 2019, which plummeted to 43 billion last year. Over 60% of tourism-related businesses in the province have shut and only 3% of the province’s 80,000 hotel rooms are still available for booking.

The third wave of Covid-19 has wreaked far more economic damage than previous outbreaks, with officials having to introduce stimulus packages to help the devastated tourism sector. Narong says for any plan to work, the locals must be vaccinated and he is frustrated at the slow pace of the government’s vaccine rollout.

“We need the vaccine to be administered to people in a timely fashion. If it is, the plan should proceed without a hitch. Covid-19 will be with us for at least a decade. We need to create a safe environment for making a living and for that to happen, we need to build herd immunity.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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  1. It may sound a little selfish but Chiang Mai opening in the not too distant future would be fine by me (though only if safe to do so). I’ve already cancelled/rearranged 5 trips there (30 weeks in total), the first was booked back in January 2020.

  2. watch it fail miserably. no one is coming, this whole idea is (again) ridiculous. typical Thai government shit. all talk and no action(if there is any action, its very little)

  3. Outside of desperation, what makes Chiang Mai think for a minute tourists are willing to have their movements controlled for 15 days? It’s bad enough you have to stay in one city for 14 nights, but now feel the need to control your daily movements. Sure seems like a quarantine to me? Don’t they understand the chances of Thais catching the virus from vaccinated and twice tested tourists is virtually nil. The real risk is the tourists getting infected from the locals. This plan is so bad it makes the Phuket version look almost doable.

  4. “typical Thai government shit. all talk and no action”

    What effective “action” can there be beyond vaccination?

    Until that’s done, it’s impossible to achieve anything.

  5. @Simon Small –

    “What effective “action” can there be beyond vaccination?”

    It will take years at this rate to get beyond vaccination in Thailand.

    Farangs in Phuket are not being vaccinated, they are being turned away from hospitals and told to come back at the end of the Month.

    If they are not vaccinated then how can Phuket open on the 1st July, maybe it is July 2022? And Chiang Mai August 2023?

  6. @Simon Small – The action that can be done is to open up the country to vaccinated tourists without quarantine or having to go through sandbox schemes. It’s really that simple.

  7. What a pile of kwai crap! There is no need for an inoculation as it doesn’t prevent the injected idiot from either getting the dreaded “lurgi” despite having the jabs and doesn’t prevent those stupid enough to have been jabbed from still spreading the virus to others! You covidiots in Chiang Mai need to wake up to yourselves and research the FACTS of the whole scam and stop bleating about not getting an unnecessary inoculation, FFS!

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