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More on the “sandbox” plan to reopen Phuket to foreign tourists, idea to be pitched to CCSA

Tanutam Thawan



Photo by Mike Swigunski for Unsplash

The so-called “sandbox” travel bubble idea, which would allow vaccinated travellers from certain low risk countries to enter Thailand without undergoing quarantine, will be pitched by the tourism officials at Friday’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting. Phuket is set to be the first area to try out the sandbox model once the scheme is approved.

If the CCSA moves forward with the sandbox plan, Thai officials will start negotiations with foreign counterparts to arrange the travel bubble for those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn. Travellers will only be allowed to visit certain areas under the sandbox model.

Chinese tourists are most likely to be the first to visit Phuket under the sandbox model, Yuthasak says. Tourism officials aim to start the sandbox model in July.

But to get the sandbox scheme going in Phuket, 70% of the island’s population need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, reaching herd immunity. Phuket has a permanent population of 400,000 people at this time.

Private businesses in Phuket have made a formal request for 900,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the request is likely to be approved by the government. 100,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine has already been allocated for Phuket. The Public Health Ministry is also speeding up vaccinations on the island to prepare for the anticipated return of foreign tourists in July.



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  1. Avatar


    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    Chinese tourists are most likely to be first – not surprised at all. Never mind the fact the Chinese have a very low level of vaccination, and their infection rate is pure fiction. It still would be nice to get somewhere open. The lack of much detail for a plan to be proposed in a couple of days would be worry some except that it’s Thailand so should be expected. What does “certain areas” mean? How long are you restricted to those areas and the island in general? Is there going to be any testing and is it just preflight or also post flight? A post flight test increases the risk level of having your vacation derailed. Is there any special insurance required? Still don’t see how they can vaccinate so many so soon unless they get a lot more vaccines than what is already scheduled to arrive.

  2. Avatar


    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 3:14 am

    travel bubble. another stupid covid-era term that needs to go away.

  3. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    To EdwardV, well said. I read that China has administered about 75 million doses, which is about 6.5% of the adult population. That compares to about 30% in the US and over 50% in the UK.

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