Although currently experiencing its highest rate of infections and deaths due to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic, the country plans to move ahead with its previously announced plans to reopen tourism. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has confirmed that from next month, the country will allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated tourists from "low-risk" countries who enter Thailand via the island of Phuket.
While more details still need to be confirmed, including what countries are deemed "low risk", for now the TAT says arrivals must be fully vaccinated or have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and must have tested negative not more than 72 hours before arrival.
Upon arriving in Phuket – which by July Thai authorities say will have reached herd immunity – visitors must stay in a hotel approved by the country’s Safety & Health Administration for the first seven nights. While on Phuket, visitors are not required to quarantine and are free to leave their accommodation and travel around the island with few, if any, restrictions, visiting beaches, restaurants and entertainment venues as per normal. Visitors will be required to register at a government website and use an app that tracks their movements. After seven nights on Phuket, visitors are free to leave the island to travel to other points in Thailand.
In preparation for tourists, many of Phuket’s pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and the island’s tourist-oriented businesses have been allowed to operate more or less normally.
Until recently, Thailand seemed virtually pandemic proof, with very few infections and even fewer deaths due to COVID-19. But a recent surge has caused authorities to put the country into semi-lockdown. However, the tourism-dependent country is reeling from an almost total lack of visitors over the previous year, and the government is keen to reverse the country’s economic stagnation.
The government’s registration portal, www.gophuget.com, is still a work in progress, and some key details of the proposed plan, such as whether or not visitors will be allowed to transfer to Phuket via Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, or if children will be required to be vaccinated, have yet to be determined.
Source: Lonely Planet