Thailand launches ‘Phuket Sandbox’ plan for pandemic tourism. List of countries allowed
- While Thailand’s 'Phuket Sandbox' plan is to provide relatively free travel within the country, a fair amount of guidelines and paperwork is involved in it.
Hoping to breathe new life into its tourism industry, Thailand on Thursday kicked off its ambitious ‘Phuket Sandbox’ plan to welcome foreigners without having to be cooped up in a hotel room for a 14-day quarantine. Thailand is heavily dependent on the tourism sector which accounts for about a fifth of the country’s economy and, according to a Reuters analysis, the outbreak of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic made the Southeast Asian nation incur a loss of around $50 billion.
As of June 30, fully vaccinated international tourists from 63 countries and three territories have been allowed to enter Thailand for quarantine-free travel under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ plan. For Japan, travellers only for business purposes will be allowed. But instead of quarantining in a hotel or government-approved facilities, the tourists will have to stay within the limits of the popular resort island of Phuket for 14 days in order to access the rest of Thailand.
A major proportion of the island's local population has been vaccinated against Covid-19 as a part of the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ plan. While Thailand’s unique scheme is to provide relatively free travel within the country, a fair amount of guidelines and paperwork is involved in it. The foreign travellers will have to undergo an RT-PCR test at their own expense upon arrival in the country and await the test results in the accommodation.
After completing 14 nights in Phuket, travellers will be allowed to continue their journey to other Thai destinations but have to follow the local restrictions of each province. International tourists can also stay in Phuket for less than 14 days and then travel to another country.
British Airways, Cathay Pacific, El Al, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and THAI have announced direct flights to Phuket. Travellers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have not been allowed to enter Phuket Sandbox.
Here’s the list of countries from where travellers may enter Phuket Sandbox:
- Antigua and Barbados
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Hong Kong
On Thursday, about 200 passengers on flights from Israel, UAE, Qatar and Singapore were expected to land on the island. The first 25 travellers arrived on an Etihad Airways flight before noon and underwent screening procedures as per the guidelines.