What is Thailand’s plan for reopening?
Under 3% foreign visitors tested positive as the result of the “Sandbox” program on Phuket island lit a hope for the reopening of the country next month.
While at least 100,000 holidaymakers are expected to follow up this “Sandbox” model to foster quarantine-free travel, just 24,600 tourists join this model which is lower than expectation.
According to Phuket’s governor, it is nearly impossible to reach that goal as people still have to deal with a strict regimen of PCR tests, mandatory staying at special hotel, tracking app ,and health insurance if they wish to travel to Phuket since July 1.
In addition, the prohibition of alcohol on the island scale as well as the British announcement that Thailand is among the high-risk area has scared off people. The target is then harder to reach.
According to Thai Embassy, the Thai government’s plan or “roadmap” to reopening is as follows:
- Stage 1. From April 1st until June 30th, vaccinated tourists will be allowed to undergo a reduced quarantine period of only 7 days. They will be also allowed out of their room at certain times to use designated areas of the hotel, if applicable. The unvaccinated tourists are required to quarantine for 10 days.
- Stage 2. From July 1st until September 30th, vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit Phuket without any quarantine period under what is called the “Phuket Sandbox” program. Visitors will be required to stay in Phuket for at least 14 days, after which they are free to travel to other parts of Thailand.
- Stage 3. From October 1st until December 31st, five other destinations will allow vaccinated tourists to arrive without a quarantine requirement under the seven-day sandbox program, which requires them to stay within the prescribed area for 7 days. This will include Krabi, Phangnga, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.
- Stage 4. It is speculated that from 1st January 2022, vaccinated tourists will be able to enter the country and move around freely without quarantine. However, any setbacks at any of the previous stages, which seem highly likely, could cause the date to be set back significantly.
It’s noted that Thai government’s vaccine roll-out is at a slower pace caused by many factors. The plan is then influenced and can be changed based on reality.