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TAT outlines rules for Phuket re-opening | VIDEO

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Bao Menglong on Unsplash

So, here they are, the dos and don’ts for all those vaccinated tourists planning trips to the southern island of Phuket from July 1. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has laid out the rules governing the Phuket Sandbox model that will see the island re-open to international visitors in just a few weeks’ time.

While fully vaccinated tourists will no longer have to endure 14-day quarantine, they will still require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Phuket. They will also need to be in possession of a Covid-19 vaccination certificate, dated within 14 days to 1 year prior to their arrival. Other requirements include a valid visa and Certificate of Entry from their local Thai embassy. And let’s not forget the mandatory Covid-19 insurance coverage of US$100,000.

Travellers can only fly directly into Phuket, no transfers in Bangkok allowed. This means passengers will need to book flights that transit through gateways in the Middle East or elsewhere in Asia, such as Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Taipei, Istanbul, and Hong Kong. Of course, each of these places may have additional restrictions for international arrivals, even those only in transit. Thai Airways is also planning a number of direct flights to Phuket from European cities including Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Paris, and London.

Children under the age of 12 will not require a vaccination certificate, but those aged between 12 and 17 will need to take a Rapid Antigen Test upon arrival at Phuket airport. This will be at passengers’ own expense. All arrivals will need to download the contact-tracing app, Thailand Plus.

Tourists will need to spend 7 nights in Phuket before being allowed to travel elsewhere in the Kingdom. Accommodation will have to be booked in officially approved hotels, certified by the Amazing Thailand Safely & Health Administration. At the end of their 7-day stay, tourists will have to submit to a Covid-19 PCR test, with a negative result allowing them to explore the rest of the country. Visitors staying in Thailand for less than 7 days will need to have a negative Covid-19 test before boarding the flight to their home country.

The TAT is expected to confirm additional requirements in the coming days, including a list of medium to low-risk countries whose residents can participate in the Phuket sandbox model.

Meanwhile, local officials are making much of the fact that over half of Phuket residents are now vaccinated against Covid-19. However, most of those have in fact only received their first dose. With a target of inoculating 70% of the island’s population by July, it seems only having had 1 dose will be considered vaccinated for this purpose.

Here’s a quick summary of the current regulations for travelling to Thailand, via Phuket, in the Sandbox plan…



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