A great deal is happening in Thailand at the moment that will affect travellers and tourists to the “Land of Smiles”.
Main picture Thailand beach scene credit Aleksandr Zykov on flickr
The country has embarked on a 120 day quest to fully reopen the country to foreign visitors as well as domestic travel. Phuket and Koh Samui will both lead the way with relaxation to restrictions in July. Krabi, including Phi Phi and Ao Nang, will follow in August.
The rest of Thailand is due to reopen by mid-October, if they can contain cases of Covid-19 and complete their panned vaccination programme.
The country has ruled out closing the borders again in the future and have pledged to control future outbreaks through local restrictions and travel bans.
“We don’t want to close our borders again because it took us so long to get to this point of reopening to foreign travellers and was very difficult.”
“We want Phuket and Samui to be opened so that foreigners can see that Thailand’s islands are clean and virus-free to welcome them.”Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand Minister of Tourism and Sports
Thailand is predicting around 1.4 million foreign visitors in 2021, down from almost 40 million in 2019. That could increase to as many as 3 million visitors but that is a best case scenario and depends on foreign countries, especially China, relaxing their own travel restrictions.
At the end of 2020, Thailand announced a special holiday to help the battered tourism industry and provide an additional break for the population.
The holiday, planned for 27th July would have resulted in an extra long holiday from 24th to 28th July.
Saturday 24th July Asarnha Bucha Day, the following day is the beginning of Buddhist Lent, Monday 26th July is the official Asarnha Bucha Day public holiday and 28th July is a holiday for the King’s birthday.
The special holiday has now been cancelled to discourage people from travelling over the period to reduce the spread of the virus. Those plans have now been thrown out as the continuing Covid-19 outbreak affects many areas of Thailand.
Phuket is due to reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists on 1st July. Tourists will not be required to quarantine on arrival but will need to remain on the island and stay in approved hotels for at least the first 14 days of their visit.
Around 100,000 visitors are expected during the first three months of the Phuket Sandbox with around 20,000 bookings already received.
Koh Samui will follow Phuket in reopening on 15th July as part of the Surat Thani “sealed route” which also covers Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Travellers will be require to remain in their hotel grounds for the first 3 days before travelling through the “sealed route” for the next 11 days.
Any travellers already in Thailand will be used to travel and business opening restrictions to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
Now they may have an additional restriction as, from today, all beaches in Rayong have been closed to the public from 8pm to 5am.
The move follows an increase in cases in the province.
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