Phuket, Thailand opens its doors to vaccinated tourists

Do you dream of traveling? More and more countries are reopening to travelers. And now Thailand is the latest to reopen to visitors.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced that vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries will be allowed direct travel to Phuket from July 1. As of this writing, TAT has not released its list of countries considered safe.

They call the opening the “Phuket Sandbox” program and present it as attractive because tourists will not be forced into quarantine. While a TAT executive says he expects around 129,000 visitors to the island between July and September 2021, it’s important to know what to expect.

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Always fight the virus

As more countries – like Ireland – begin to open their borders to visitors, attention is shifting to the number of active COVID-19 cases they continue to face. Thailand is battling its third wave of illnesses and deaths linked to COVID-19.

On June 10, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 2,300 new cases. In addition, nearly 47,000 Thais remain hospitalized with the virus, and around 47,000 others are isolated or receiving treatment. Despite the recent influx of sick patients, TAT insists the island will open up to tourists as planned.

That’s not to say that no one should visit Thailand, but it’s important to know what you might be facing. The number of sick people could impact things generally taken for granted, such as the number of healthy employees available to serve in restaurants and clean hotel rooms.

Mandatory vaccine

International tourists will need to prove that they have been fully vaccinated, although children under six are welcome without vaccination.

Travel restrictions

All tourists are free to travel to the island but must stay at least seven days before traveling elsewhere in Thailand.

Importance of tourism

The lack of tourism has been devastating for Thailand. So much so that the government decided to allow the people of Phuket to jump in the lead and get vaccinated before most of the country’s population. While only 4% of Thais have been vaccinated so far, the government plans to vaccinate 70% to 80% of residents of Phuket before it reopens on July 1.

The main reason for the accelerated vaccination of island residents is that Phuket is the most popular tourist destination in a country in desperate need of tourist dollars. Before the pandemic, money spent by foreign tourists accounted for 11% to 12% of Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In addition to the loss of 1.45 million jobs due to the pandemic, only 6.7 million tourists visited Thailand in 2020. To put that in perspective, Thailand typically hosts around 40 million foreign tourists. With a fraction of the tourism they usually receive, spending fell from $ 61 billion to $ 11 billion – a deficit the country continues to struggle with.

If you are going to

If you’re one of the 100,000 tourists the Thai government hopes to visit Phuket this year, you can settle into a luxurious pool villa right on the beach with a private terrace for under $ 80 a night. In terms of luxury at a lower cost, it’s a price hard to beat.

Are you looking for a way to reduce travel costs? Use a rewards credit card that offers airline rewards or cash back. These rewards can then be used to make an already enjoyable vacation even more spectacular.

About Emilie Brandow

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