Phuket reopens on 1 July under “Sandbox” scheme
Throughout the month of June, locals and foreign tourists alike were highly anticipating Phuket’s reopening. Intended to revitalise Thailand’s heavily decimated tourism industry, the Phuket “Sandbox” scheme that allows fully vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries to enter Phuket quarantine-free is the country’s first step towards a full reopening.
Today, 1st July 2021, marks the official start of Phuket “Sandbox”. On the initiative’s inaugural date, 249 foreign visitors are expected to arrive in Thailand.
Here are the regulations tourists have to follow.
Recent Covid-19 updates:
- Elders to register for Covid-19 vaccines at 100 hospitals in BKK
- Private hospitals set price for “Moderna” Covid-19 vaccine due to arrive in October
Regulations during mandatory 14-day stay
On 1st July 2021, the Phuket “Sandbox” scheme officially begins. 249 passengers are expected to arrive in Phuket on the first day of the programme, with an estimated total of 8,000 visitors coming to the island over the course of the month, says government spokesperson, Mr. Anucha Burapachaisri, as per Bangkok Post.
On 29th June 2021, the Thai government has announced new updates to the “Sandbox” programme. New regulations include:
- Visitors must provide proof of pre-payment for three negative PCR tests before receiving Certificate Of Entry (COE) from embassies
- Accommodation bookings must be made and pre-paid through Thailand Safety & Health Administration website
In order to ensure accurate contact tracing, the administration is introducing compulsory location-tracking wristbands for tourists.
The devices must be worn during visitors’ mandatory 14 day quarantine on the island, and will signal if someone is trying to prematurely leave Phuket for another province in Thailand.
Tourists will also have to install the Mor Chana tracking application on their phones. The province is also planning to install facial recognition cameras around the island for identification purposes.
Currently, the government is looking at consequences for those who violate safety measures and accomplices.
For example, leaving the island before completing the mandatory quarantine period. This applies to both the visitor and anyone who’s lending a helping hand to them, reported by the Thaiger.
“Sandbox” rules may apply in other provinces
The president of Koh Tao’s Tourism Association, Mr. Ramluek Atsawachin, stated this similar scheme may apply to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui from August.
This decision for the scheme was discussed amongst 180 Surat Thani’s local tourism operators and provincial staff on 15th June 2021, according to the Bangkok Post.
Hope for the future
From one of the most visited and easily accessible countries to travel in Asia, Thailand had to close its borders because of Covid-19. With the reopening of one of the country’s popular islands and the vaccine rollouts, the Kingdom seems to be moving closer towards international tourism and normalcy.
If you’re planning on heading over soon, we’d recommend making sure you’re 100% prepared to ensure a relaxing vacation. This means securing the proper documentation and being mentally ready for post-Covid travel.
After Phuket, what other destinations are you looking forward to visiting in Thailand?
Places to explore around Phuket:
- 10 lesser-known Thai islands to visit if you’re bored of Phuket
- 8 Phuket cafes to visit in between snorkeling trips