From July 1, no quarantine for vaccinated tourists visiting Phuket.
Bangkok, Thailand – In a move largely expected after intense lobbying from the huge Travel and Tourism industry here in Thailand, the government approved the waiving of quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors arriving on Phuket from July 1, the first significant reopening for the popular tourism destination.
An economic panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday approved the proposal by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate at least 70% of the island’s residents to reopen for vaccinated tourists, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
Thai tourism and airline businesses, with the support of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai Hotels Association (THA), Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), SKAL THAILAND, PATA TH, International Air Transport Association (IATA), #OpenThailandSafely campaign, Board of Airline Representatives Business Association (BAR), Airlines Association of Thailand (AAT), all commended the government on its success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic in Thailand, however expressed their wish to now restart tourism from overseas for vaccinated travellers.
Phuket has been without any new Covid-19 cases for 89 days. Phuket authorities have approved plans to welcome visitors without quarantine on July 1 to stimulate the local economy and will have one million Covid-19 vaccine doses before that. There is an urgent need for foreign tourists here, to stimulate both the economy and tourism sector. Before, a local resident earned about 40,000 baht per month on average. In February this fell to about 8,000 baht. Without some change, this will fall to 1,964 baht in July, which is below the poverty line.
A survey revealed that foreigners are interested in visiting Phuket but without undergoing quarantines. A local official says those foreigners who visit without undergoing quarantine, will be tracked using the Covid-19 tracing mobile app.
The government plans to test the reopening plan in Phuket before other key tourist hot spots, such as Koh Samui, to help restart the tourism industry battered by a year without its millions of tourists who contributed to one-fifth of the economy before the pandemic. Koh Samui, following Phuket, is also asking for approval to allow foreign travellers to skip quarantine requirements. Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, the president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, says he is hopeful for Samui to receive approval.
The approval for Phuket means it will reopen three months earlier than the rest of the country, which is expected to reopen for those who are fully vaccinated only in October.
Phuket residents will also be prioritised in the vaccine roll-out, with more than 930,000 doses expected to be administered before the reopening, Mr Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the island’s tourist association, said.
Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a former hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. Educated at Batley Grammar School and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew started his career in London, working with various hotels. His first posting overseas was with Hilton International, in Paris, and he later arrived in Asia in 1991 on Bangkok with his appointment as Director of Marketing at the Shangri-La Hotel and has remained in Thailand ever since. Andrew has also worked with the Royal Garden Resort Group now Anantara (Vice President) and the Landmark Group of Hotels (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Latterly he has been the General Manager at the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya and the Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok & Resorts.
A past board member and Director of Skål International (SI), a former National President with SI Thailand and a two time past President of the Bangkok Club. Andrew is currently President of Skål Asia. In 2019, Andrew was awarded SKÅL’s highest award the distinction of Membre D’Honneur.
He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Asia.