Phuket business owners welcoming the no quarantine plan

29 Mar 2021

The government's approval of a quarantine-free reopening for vaccinated foreigners from July 1 has been welcomed by businesses on Phuket's southern island. From that date on, international arrivals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be exempted from mandatory quarantine in Phuket. The re-opening is expected to bring in more than 84 billion baht in income.

Phuket, like many other parts of the country that relies heavily on tourism, has been hard hit by the pandemic. The island used it to welcome between 70,000 and 80,000 foreign visitors every day until Covid-19.

According to the Bangkok Post, it now receives just around 10,000 visitors, most of which are Thai. Although the news of the imminent reopening is welcome, Thanusak Phungdet of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce says it is important to vaccinate 70% of the local population first.

“We have to procure more vaccines, and Phuket residents must support by receiving the vaccine, The local tourism industry is expected to produce 84 billion baht until Phuket reopens to tourists on July 1.”

He says that the re-opening won’t lead to a flood of foreign tourists right away, but it will also help tourism beyond Phuket.

“In the next five months, we expect 100,000 foreign tourists entering Phuket, income may increase by only 20-30% and this will also boost the national tourism industry because the foreign tourists in Phuket may also visit other provinces.”

According to the Phuket re-opening plan, or "sandbox" proposal, the island must achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 70% of its population before international visitors are waived from mandatory quarantine. This means that at least 466,587 people should need two doses of the vaccine. To reach the July 1 deadline, the vaccine must be distributed by April 15, with the second dose administered from May 15.

A vaccine certificate, vaccine passport, or an International Air Transport Association travel pass will be required for foreign tourists. They still need to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure.

Meanwhile, the Thai government has approved a roadmap for the reopening of six Thai provinces, which will begin next month. Vaccinated foreigners arriving in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Chiang Mai will be subject to a 7-day reduced quarantine between April and June. Vaccinated tourists to Phuket will no longer be subjected to quarantine starting in July, but they will be obliged to remain on the island's "sealed roads" for seven days before being allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand. They'll still need to get the government's contact tracing app to use it.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Phuket Tourist Association's Bhummikitti Ruktaengam reports that once tourism picks up in October, Phuket's reopening should generate an additional 54 billion baht.