Cabinet approves Phuket sandbox
Reopening of the Gulf Islands on July 15
Patong Beach in Phuket, normally a tourist attraction, is nearly empty in November 2020 (Photo by Apinya Wipatayotin)
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Phuket sandbox tourism program which sees the island reopening on July 1, followed by a trio of destinations in the Gulf of Thailand – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao – on July 15. July, allowing full vaccination. tourists from some countries.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the reopening was pushed by local contractors after the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved the plan in principle on June 18.
Mr Anucha insisted that disease control measures and close surveillance will remain in place, as required by CCSA. The reopening program would be abandoned if there were more than 90 infections reported per week in tourist areas.
He said vaccinated foreign visitors are allowed to travel to Phuket without a state quarantine requirement. However, they are required to stay in Phuket for 14 days before traveling to other provinces in Thailand. If they stay in Phuket for less than 14 days, they are required to return via a direct flight.
Those traveling to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are required to travel only via a “sealed” itinerary diagram. During the first three days, they must stay in approved hotels.
They can travel along the sealed routes between days 4-7, then on days 8-15 they can travel to the other two islands.
Mr Anucha said the Ministry of Tourism and Sports was responsible for reopening other tourist areas. The ministry advised local agencies and businesses to develop their own reopening plans before submitting proposals to the CCSA.
While many organizations expressed doubts over the government’s statement to reopen the country by mid-October, Mr Anucha said the prime minister acknowledged these concerns.
Mr Anucha cited the Prime Minister’s statement that the government must strike a balance between the economy, public health and infection control.