Thailand to reopen Phuket for foreign tourists from Oct 1

New Delhi (NVI): Thailand’s popular island destination Phuket will finally open for foreign tourists from October 1, the country’s Ministry of Tourism has announced.

The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Yuthasak Supasorn made that announcement, adding that the island of Phuket will serve as the experimental ground for the upcoming opening of borders testing how successful restarting tourism is.

Earlier, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the country is aiming to allow foreign tourists to enter the country through a program dubbed “Safe and Sealed.”

“I have asked the prime minister for approval to set October 1 as the date to allow tourists to enter,” he said. “I also have requested to use Phuket as a pilot model and have received approval from the Center for Economic Situation Administration.”

According to the reports, foreign tourists will be committed to staying in Thailand for at least 30 days, which they must fly directly into Phuket.

The first 14 days of their minimum 30-day vacation will be in quarantine at their hotel, which will include their private hotel room, common areas of the hotel’s property, and in some cases beach access.

Whereas, in order to leave the premises and explore Phuket, travellers must register two negative PCR tests and tourists who want to leave Phuket and ro explore other parts of Thailand must conduct a third PCR test on the third week of their visit.

Meanwhile, the government of Thailand has not yet stated which countries will be welcomed in its shores. It is most likely that the country will open its borders for neighbouring countries in which the virus has also been successfully contained, or nations with important socioeconomic ties to Thailand.

Like most countries, the country rely heavily on tourism, the pandemic has hit Thailand’s economy hard. The country’s tourism sector normally contributes close to 15 per cent of its GDP, as per the World Bank report.

The Phuket announcement is the first general tourism announcement to come out of Thailand since the closure in March

Since July, Thailand has also been allowing select categories of foreigners to enter the country, starting with medical tourists, direct family members of Thai nationals and business investors.

However, the pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy, Thailand has managed to control the spread of the virus, with no locally transmitted cases reported in almost three months. In total, it has had over 3,390 coronavirus cases and 58 deaths.

-RJV