Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha confirmed over the weekend that Phuket will be the first destination in Thailand to reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists without the need to quarantine from 1st July under the “Phuket Sandbox” project.
Main picture credit Anton Shuvalov on Unsplash
The plans were given provisional approval by the Thai cabinet last week.
Full details of the project are currently under another review by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the Cabinet for final official endorsement in time for the scheduled start date on 1 July, 2021.
Final confirmation and details are not expected until the final week of June which will likely delay many people making travel plans and few tourists are expected in the early weeks.
They hope to attract 129,000 tourists to Phuket between July and September.
General Prayut noted that preparations to reopen Phuket include the local vaccination drive. To date, more than 70% of Phuket’s population have been vaccinated. The target is to inoculate 100% of those in the tourism sector before the scheduled reopening date.
Later today we launch our “Future of Travel” series where we look at what your travel experience may be like when international, global travel starts to become more accessible again.
300 tourism businesses in Phuket have been awarded SHA Plus accreditation in preparation for the start of the Phuket Sandbox.
The ‘SHA’ logo certifies that venues and businesses have public health measures in place for COVID-19, while the ‘Plus’ sign confirms that more than 70% of employees in the organisation are fully vaccinated under the ‘Phuket Must Win’ vaccination programme.
“The ‘SHA Plus’ standard symbolises Phuket’s readiness to reopen the island, which local stakeholders have worked together to create as part of the pilot scheme.”Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaiboon, TAT Deputy Governor of Tourism Products and Business
Foreign visitors who arrive from 1st July will be required to book hotels, which are ‘SHA Plus’ certified for their first 14 days before being able to leave the province to other destinations in Thailand.
Currently, there are 1,389 venues and businesses across Phuket that have received the Amazing Thailand SHA certificate, and of these, more than 300 are SHA Plus-certified. The number is continuing to rise as all SHA-certified businesses in Phuket, where at least 70% of staff are inoculated, are encouraged to register for the ‘SHA Plus’ Certificate.
Visitors will be able to book their accommodation via a number of sources including a new platform currently in the final stages of development. These bookings will then link with the entry requirements for Thailand which are found at the Entry Thailand website.
A number of airlines have confirmed plans for direct flights to Phuket in the coming months.
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