Phuket is reopening to foreign tourists starting July 1 with the quarantine period waived for vaccinated travellers, but it’s likely that most of the tourists will be from China. Chartered flights are scheduled to begin in July from China, while European visitors are expected to start returning in winter.
Phuket expects about 2 million visitors, mostly from China and Europe, estimated to bring in about 105 billion baht during the second half of 2021, according to the vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand. Travellers, who are vaccinated against the coronavirus, will be able to arrive and stay in Phuket without quarantine under the new “sandbox” travel model.
Thailand’s mandatory 2-week quarantine has been driving away many tourists wishing to travel. The plan to reopen Phuket to Chinese tourists is a step in the slow reopening of all the borders in Thailand.
While tourism makes up about 20% of Thailand’s economy, foreign visitors brought in nearly 90% of tourism income in Phuket. Without foreign travellers, Phuket’s recovery prospects are dim.
Chinese tourists made up the biggest percent of tourists before Covid-19 shut down international tourism, and they are expected to lead the way to a post-pandemic tourism revival. Plans have been underway for a travel bubble for weeks now.
Russia, the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the US are predicted to be the most popular origin countries for returning foreign travellers. Many of these countries are moving quickly with vaccinations.
Phuket has been injecting up to 12,000 people a day with a goal of a 70% vaccination rate for residents before reopening. 930,000 vaccines are scheduled to be administered by June, paving the way for Phuket to welcome tourists from China in July.
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