Thailand has announced a three-stage plan to reopen major tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ko Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai to foreign travellers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced a three-stage roadmap to open six major tourist provinces in the country—Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ko Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai—to foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated. Such visitors must also be from countries with no mutated strain of the SAR-CoV-2 virus as announced and updated by the Ministry of Public Health, say authorities. The news comes shortly after the Royal Thai Government announced a reduction on quarantine for vaccinated international arrivals, from approved countries, from 14 days to 7 days starting April 1.
This move is part of the government’s effort to jumpstart the country’s stagnating tourism sector. According to The Guardian, spending by foreign tourists accounted for 11-12% of Thailand’s GDP pre-pandemic. In 2020, 6.7 million international tourists visited Thailand, spending $11 billion as compared to 40 million in 2019, when they spent $61 billion. The island of Phuket has also been working on a mass vaccination drive to innoculate a majority of its population—about 4,60,000 people—by July 1. “If we can build immunity for 70-80% of the population on the island, we can receive foreign tourists who have been vaccinated without the need for quarantine,” Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong told Reuters.
Stages of reopening
From April to June, vaccinated foreign tourists will have to quarantine at government-approved facilities for 7 nights after which they will be allowed to visit other parts of the country. During the quarantine period, they will be able to engage in activities within the premises of their hotels as well as within designated areas in their destination of arrival.
From July to September, Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists to Thailand. However, for the first 7 days, visitors will be restricted to designated areas in Phuket, after which they will be allowed to travel to other parts of the country. Tourists to Krabi, Phang Nga, Ko Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai will still have to undergo a 7-day quarantine period.
Between October and December, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ko Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai will lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists. As with Phuket, these visitors will be able to travel within designated areas at their destination for 7 days before being allowed to visit other parts of the country.
COVD-19 screening mandatory
As Thailand opens up for tourism once more, vaccinated foreign tourists will have to undergo a COVID-19 screening, including an RT-PCR test, and download the local contact-tracing app before being allowed into the country. They will also require documentation such as a valid visa or re-entry permit, a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate; a COVID-19 health insurance policy with a minimum coverage of US$ 100,000; confirmation of Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel booking, and a medical certificate with a negative RT-PCR laboratory result issued no more than 72 hours before departure.