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Best-case for Phuket’s Sandbox: up to 1.2 million tourists, Kasikorn predicts

Tanutam Thawan



Stock photo by Arkady Lukashov for Unsplash

Up to 1.2 million foreign tourists could travel to Thailand through Phuket’s “Sandbox” travel scheme. That’s the best-case scenario, according to the Kasikorn Research Centre. They estimate that the scheme, which is planned to allow vaccinated tourists to enter the country and stay on the island without going through quarantine, could draw in 550,000 people to 1.2 million from July 1 to the end of the year. The worst-case scenario… only 250,000 tourists arrive in the next 6 months.

Under Phuket’s Sandbox model, travellers who are vaccinated against the coronavirus can enter the island province without undergoing the 14-day quarantine. The tourists will need to stay on the island for 14 days before travelling to other provinces. Upon arrival, tourists entering through Phuket’s Sandbox programme must present proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as well as a negative Covid-19 test result issued no more than 72 hours before departure.

“From July 1 until the end of 2021, the sandbox campaign will bring in from 550,000 to 1.2 million foreign tourists in the best-case scenario, in which there are no new cluster cases emerging in the province…. However, in the worst-case scenario, the number of foreign tourists is predicted at around 250,000. These predictions could vary, depending on the Covid-19 situation, the vaccination rate and the confidence of foreign tourists in Thailand’s ability to control the outbreak.”

The plan, first proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, has been approved in principle by the Centre for Economic Situation Administration, according to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The island province has been accelerating the local Covid-19 immunisation campaign in an effort to vaccinate 70% of the isalnd’s population and reach herd immunity by the end of the month.

Tourism overall is expected to improve next year as the country aims to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus. The centre expects domestic tourism to improve first as health officials roll out vaccinations and contain cluster outbreaks.

“Once the country’s overall outbreak situation improves, Thais will start travelling and spending domestically, which will help other related industries, such as transportation and retail.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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