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Phuket expects tourist from China in July, Europe end of year

Neill Fronde



Stock photo via flickr

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.

SOURCE: Bloomberg


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  1. Avatar

    J West

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Chinese zero baht bus tours will greatly benefit . Chinese owned airlines, hotels, restaurants, buses, Chinese tour guides and ‘ Made in China” gift shop businesses like Chinese owned soapy massage must be happy with this news. They’re likey stocking up on fake rhino Horn face whitening paste and soi-dog- tiger penis powder as we speak.

  2. Avatar

    Patrick Nouvel

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    No Way Chinese wont come, their goverment willing to keep them for their internal market, simple, if you are free to go, returnees must go for 4 weeks quarantine ??

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    UK should come in July, it has higher rate of vaccination.

  4. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Annnnnd there it is. *shocked*

  5. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Why not Chinese they nearly own all of Thailand now

    Sorry I despise the Chinese Gov with a passion communist bullies murderers and low lifes The Virus is theirs so they will bring it with them too
    More the Chinese come less other countries will follow so soon Thailand will be Chailand
    Good Luck Thailand

  6. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Assuming China lets them leave, and they don’t have to quarantine upon return. It’s not a given the Chinese will visit in mass come July. How quick we forget the Chinese numbers were soft in 2019, and particularly in Phuket. They are the most risk adverse tourists in the world (that’s not a dig), and were the first to bail on Thailand once the outbreak started. The Chinese stopped coming in early February, while western tourists were still arriving the first week of March. Thailand expects them to show up in mass during a world wide pandemic and while there is civil unrest. Keeping in mind the Chinese have a very low rate of vaccination to boot. It just seem to be a stretch at best, and nothing more than blind hope at worse. What Thailand should be doing is trying to land tourists from heavily vaccinated countries instead of ignoring them in the chase for the all mighty Yuan. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  7. Avatar


    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 1:28 am

    I think it is better to have Chinese family tourists or group tourists from the travel bubbles. By July most Westerners who have had vaccines are over 50s. Most people know would what that means.

  8. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 2:49 am

    A sensible move,most europeans are not allowed to travel at present and if they could very few flights are available anyway.think it would also be sensible for tat to try to get more indian nationals to visit aswell.lot of people here probably won’t like it but when you have several billion people living near by many with high disposable incomes chasing around after a few fat smelly ke neow falangs from thousands of miles away makes no economic sense.its about time local tourism related buissness started improving their mandarin and hindi if they want to survive and thrive.

  9. Avatar


    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 4:34 am

    I don’t buy into this anti China rhetoric. It shows how successful US badmouthing propaganda has been over the decades. China has NOTHING to thank the West for, particularly the US. Their culture is different. There is no right or wrong. Many Thai families have ancestral ties to China, which is only a 100 or so, miles away. Go to Phuket. Have fun. Spend money. Some Thais will benefit and that’s good.

  10. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 5:27 am

    First of all, the particular type of Chinese tourists depicted in the photo here will NOT come. a) They most likely have not been vaccinated (in fact, China is lagging in its vaccination drive compared to both N. America and EU), b) On return to China they will have to do 2 weeks quarantine in a hotel, plus 1 week quarantine at home (Chinese 25-35 y.o. who can afford to take an extra 3 weeks off(!) simply do not exist).

  11. Avatar


    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 5:33 am

    “July most Westerners who have had vaccines are over 50s” – depends on the country. By the end of June every American over the age of 16 who wants to be vaccinated will have had both doses. The end of July will see most Brits with both jabs. The rest of Europe and Canada is anyone’s guess, but I would think most by the end of the year.

    I wouldn’t expect to see the Indians anytime soon. They are going through a brutal third wave right now (so much for herd immunity), and less than 4% of their population has the first dose. It’s so bad they have cut off vaccines to the rest of the world to concentrate on their own population.

  12. Avatar

    Andrew Whyte

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Any news of Thai/Chinese government talks for setting up a travel bubble?

  13. Avatar

    Andrew Whyte

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 8:18 am

    High level Thai/Chinese government talks on a travel bubble are vital to bring Chinese tourists in to Phuket. Are these talks even happening?

  14. Avatar


    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 9:32 am

    @Geoff, nice try Wu Mao.

  15. Avatar

    the man the myth the lengend

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 12:54 am

    USA as well should be allowed to come! We too have had vaccine, and also covid antibodies from the weak Wuhan flu. So why not allow the USA into Thailand? Seems you want people who actually travel on their own and support local communities rather than Chinese owned businesses.

  16. Avatar

    the man the myth the lengend

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 12:55 am

    very good point. Americans should come as well. we are vaccinated and able to spend more money locally than to the big Chinese owned companies.

  17. Avatar

    Bruno sørensen

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1:48 am

    Situation in Sweden Germany,US – France and Uk is a disaster ! what is that for bullshit news to tell its going fast there with vacciantion ? ? Sweden and Germany is locking down 100 % now for the third time. . what is that for crap article ! the british vaccine is shit to throw out. as expected. .

  18. Avatar

    Robert Elliot

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:22 am

    I have to agree with Geoff. The Chinese have more ethnic and cultural ties to Thailand than westerners, and I am sure they are not bitter about all us westerners coming to Thailand.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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