Phuket sunset credit Rodion Bodrov on Unsplash
Phuket is pressing ahead with plans for the return of quarantine free travel despite the current Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand and concerns that the Phuket Sandbox may need to be delayed.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has said that it expects 30,000 – 40,000 tourists per month in the first three months of the project, due to launch on 1st July. The majority of these are likely to come from long-haul travellers.
The 129,000 international tourists will hopefully be joined by up to 100,000 domestic tourists taking advantage of subsidised flights.
“The new outbreak in Thailand didn’t affect tourism sentiment in foreign markets as the media in each country turned their focus towards the situation in India and domestic cases in their own countries.”
“However, travel agents expressed concern that the virus situation may affect the reopening timeline which prompted TAT to confirm that everything is running as scheduled.”Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor Tourism Authority of Thailand
All travellers will need to fly direct to Phuket airport although there is the possibility of transitting through Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport via a sealed terminal if capacity for international flights at Phuket is stretched.
TAT are working on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to govern the entry process which will include Covid-19 testing and emergency procedures. Tour packages will be able to be sold once the SOP have been approved by the government.
The Phuket sandbox is initially targeting higher value tourists and expect 7-day packages to cost around 150,000 – 200,000 baht (£3,400 – £4,535 / US$4,783 – $6,378) per person, quadruple the average cost pre-pandemic.
Officials are hoping that the current outbreak does not result in a delay to the next phase of vaccinations on the island which is due to start on 18th May and be concluded by the end of June.
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