Thailand’s government approved a plan last week that will allow international travellers who have received a COVID-19 vaccination to bypass quarantine requirements on arrival in Phuket.
This comes after the government had announced the previous week that it intended to provide everyone living in Phuket with COVID-19 vaccinations and expected to vaccinate at least 70% of the Phuket population by the end of June.
On the basis that at least 70% of Phuket’s population is vaccinated by the deadline, then as of July 1, international travellers who can provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination will be permitted to visit the vacation destination with no quarantine requirement.
If the goal of 70% of the population being vaccinated is not met, then the government says it may delay the opening of Phuket.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said: “There are people who are fully vaccinated and ready to travel. But they would only choose destinations that have vaccinated its residents and don’t require quarantine.”
Phuket will serve as a test case for the government and its vaccination procedures, and if everything is “successful” then the government will roll out similar vaccination / tourism opening plans for other key areas of the country. This would potentially include areas such as Koh Samui and Pattaya as well as Chang Mai and Chang Rai.
Thailand’s plans are welcome news to the Thai tourism industry, and industry experts say that the waiving of mandatory quarantine requirements would save as many as 400,000 jobs in the hotel industry and another 400,000 jobs in other tourism sectors such including airline employees, ground service workers and related food and beverage and entertainment sector employees.
Thailand is one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, with a record of 40 million visitors in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, international arrivals declined to 6.8 million visitors in 2020 and less than 10 million people are expected in 2021.