H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, made an official visit to launch the much-awaited Phuket Sandbox programme to reopen the island to tourism.
The Prime Minister personally inspected the readiness and safety measures in place at a number of key tourism-related sites. This included the main entry-exit points of Phuket International Airport and Thai Chatchai Pier alongside Sarasin Bridge, which connects to the mainland, and also the ‘EOC Phuket Tourism Sandbox Operation Centre’.
Headed by Mr. Narong Woonchiew, Governor of Phuket Province, the ‘EOC Phuket Tourism Sandbox Operation Centre’ manages the COVID-19 control and prevention measures in place around Phuket. It is connected to all Immigration checkpoints on the island, tourism stakeholders, and public services; such as, hotels and hospitals, and the alert application.
It in turn is connected to the Royal Thai Government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which is responsible for the nationwide COVID-19 control and prevention measures.
General information on the Phuket Sandbox programme; such as, entry requirements, on arrival procedures, hygiene measures, and FAQs can be found here.
With the Phuket Sandbox programme in effect, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects 100,000 foreign tourists to visit Phuket in the Third Quarter of 2021 of July to September, generating 8.9 billion Baht in revenue for the local economy.
A number of major airlines including Etihad, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways International (THAI) are already reconnecting Phuket with world cities like London, Frankfurt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore with direct flights.
The total number of flights during July 2021 is expected to be around 426, averaging 13 flights a day. For the month, there are 11,894 passengers with Phuket bookings on six airlines divided into 8,281 inbound passengers and 3,613 outbound passengers.
The Phuket Sandbox programme is an important starting point in the revitalisation of the wider Thailand tourism industry.
Phuket is the pilot destination for the subsequent reopening of other destinations in the country with similar no quarantine requirements beginning next with Surat Thani province (Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao) on 15 July, 2021.
This is to be followed on 1 September, 2021, with the reopening of Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay Beach), Phang Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao), Chiang Mai (Mueang District and Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao Districts), Chon Buri (Pattaya, Bang Lamung, and Sattahip Districts) and Buri Ram (Mueang District and Chang Arena).
1 October, 2021 is the planned date for the reopening of Bangkok, Phetchaburi (Cha-Am) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin), with the rest of Thailand due to reopen throughout the month.
Each destination will have their own requirements for visitors. Information on this will be available soon.