Those missing Phuket, which has reasserted itself as a premier beach front with a growing crop of luxury hotels in recent years, can relish its sandy beaches and raucous nightlife once again. Thailand expects about two million foreign tourists, mostly Chinese and Europeans, to visit the most popular island of the nation when it reopens to vaccinated visitors from July 1.
Chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved the proposal by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate at least 70% of the island’s residents to prepare for the reopening for vaccinated tourists.
The resort island is expected to generate an estimated revenue of about 105 billion baht (S$4.5 billion) in the second half of the year. This is the first time in more than a year that the island allows visitors without the mandatory two-week quarantine.
Should the reopening of Phuket to foreign visitors be successful, Thailand’s tourism department is aiming for other popular destinations within the country to follow suit and end movement restrictions. Phuket province has increased its capacity to administer as many as 12,000 doses of vaccine per day from 400 previously.
However, tourists who want to join the proposed quarantine-free programme are required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport or International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass.
On the hospitality front, Centara Hotels & Resorts, owned by one of Thailand’s richest families, is preparing to reopen properties shuttered in the wake of a new wave of coronavirus outbreak.
Other tourist-dependent countries such as Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Sri Lanka have either opened borders already or are in discussions to do so in light of successful Covid vaccine rollouts in their key source markets.
Stay tuned for updates.