Phuket remains open to int’l visitors

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The government has confirmed Phuket remains open to international tourists visiting as part of the Phuket Sandbox campaign for quarantine-free tourism, denying rumors of the campaign’s termination.

The government’s COVID-19 economic task force has confirmed Phuket is still open to fully vaccinated tourists joining the Phuket Sandbox campaign, with no changes expected to any of the applicable regulations.

The Center for Economic Situation Administration’s (CESA) Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, said today tourists will be accepted on the same terms and conditions as before, while urging the general public not to share or forward rumors claiming the campaign has been suspended due to a COVID-19 case surge.

Mr Thanakorn said 4,778 international tourists have so far visited Phuket since the official reopening on 1st July, while the authorities anticipate the cumulative number of international visitors to be some 100,000 in the first three months, generating around 8.9 billion baht in revenue.

He said the Phuket Sandbox campaign is important for the local economy which relies heavily on tourism, and serves as a vital pilot campaign for Thailand’s restart of its tourism sector as the country reopens.

Visitors traveling to Phuket from abroad are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to travel, to have their quarantine requirement waived on arrival. They are still however subject to an arrival test, plus subsequent tests depending on the length of their stay.

Since the reopening, some international tourists visiting as part of the campaign have tested positive to COVID-19. All of the infected visitors have been admitted for treatment, while all high-risk people in close contact with them are being isolated according to the regulations.

With the escalation of the COVID-19 situation across the country, Phuket has announced new travel requirements for domestic travelers from 10 maximum and strict control provinces, as well as 24 maximum control provinces traveling to the island province by air, land, or water.

The new requirements, to be enforced from 15th July to 31st July, now require all inbound travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before arrival, or have received a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine 14 days before arrival, or recovered from COVID-19 no more than 90 days prior.

Along with the new vaccination or recovery requirements, inbound domestic travelers must also present a negative COVID-19 test certificate using either an antigen test or the RT-PCR method, issued no more than seven days prior to arrival.

All travelers to Phuket must install and activate the Mor Chana tracking application on their mobile devices, with location permission set to ’on’ throughout their stay.