Anyone who is in Thailand or associated in any way to Thailand understands that a major portion of the country runs on tourism and international travelers. Much like other areas of the globe, the tourism industry was destroyed by the recent Coronavirus pandemic, but, there could be an end in sight apparently.
According to Reuters, the Minister of Tourism, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said he is anxious to open the island of Phuket to international tourists through the “Safe and Sealed” and Phuket Model program (a pilot program that will allow tourists from low-risk countries to visit designated areas of Thailand provided they are able and willing to spend a certain number of weeks in country.)
The program would see a small number of visitors who are able to enter Thailand, where they will then be required to quarantine at designated hotels and resorts throughout Phuket for 14 days. There is talk of special “beach quarantine zones” that could be set up at beaches that are near to the hotels being used as quarantine zones.
Travelers wishing to use the Safe and Sealed route would need to get tested for COVID-19 at the beginning and end of their quarantine period. Once visitors have been cleared and are deemed virus-free they will be free to travel around Phuket. Should they want to continue on to other Thailand destinations outside of Phuket, they would be required to go through more screening and quarantine periods for at least seven days. If successful, Thailand could see a roll-out of the Safe and Sealed program across other islands in the kingdom.
With many talks of “Travel-bubbles” and “Safe and Sealed” it seems like Thailand may see a slight-influx of tourism to certain areas around October of this year. The question of “is it all an overboard reaction” remains to be seen. This program, of course, would mainly benefit long stay tourists who can stay at least thirty days.
Currently the only non-Thais being allowed into the country are those individuals who hold work permits, select medical tourists and foreigners who are married to Thais, among other special cases.