Following on the success of its Sandbox program, new regulations for flying into Phuket will make it easier for crew changes and the eventual reopening of Thailand, which is scheduled to take place on 1 November, reports Gordon Fernandes, co-founder of Asia Pacific Superyachts.
“The Thai government’s aim is to allow all vaccinated crew and guests to fly into Thailand without the need for quarantine. Yacht check-in is also scheduled to get easier,” he adds.
After months of strict travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand is gearing up for a return to normalcy by easing some travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, and allowing normal tourists to enter the country. Thailand will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions from 1 November for vaccinated arrivals, authorities stated recently.
Boasting the success of the 'Phuket Sandbox' scheme, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said 42,000 international travellers joined the campaign from 1 July to 5 October 2021, generating more than 2 billion baht for the economy. Fully vaccinated travellers from eligible countries who visit Thailand through the Phuket Sandbox are not required to undergo a mandatory quarantine.
Now, vaccinated travellers can visit other parts of Thailand too, including the island of Koh Samui and parts of the provinces of Krabi and Phang-Nga.
Thai authorities announced plans to reopen its popular tourist destinations and large cities by the year end 2022. A four-phase reopening timeline that prioritises popular tourist destinations, including Bangkok, has been approved as follows:
Pilot - Oct 1:
Continue reopening of Phuket, Surat Thani (Koh Samui et al), Krabi and Phang-Nga, with more places opening in Krabi.
Pilot 1 - Nov 1:
Reopening of seven more provinces, including popular spots like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Hua Hin 2.
Pilot 2 - Dec 1:
Reopening of 20 more provinces, including Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Trang, Trat and Yala.
Pilot 3 - Jan 1, 2022:
Reopening 13 more border provinces, including Satun, Surin and Udon Thani.
The Thai government plans to promote tourism next year and set up of a tourism promotional fund to transform Phuket into a world class destination. Restrictions were eased as vaccinations hit 50m doses after a record 1.4m doses in late September. The ambitious plan for Phuket and the tourism sector was approved during an online meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
A tourism promotion fund, with the support of the private sector and civil society, will be set up, not just to promote tourism but also to effect changes in the tourism industry for sustainable growth, as well as reducing as much red tape as possible to promote tourism and welcome more foreign-flagged yachts and superyachts.
Now quarantines are reduced, there are more Sandboxes and no origin restrictions for international travellers to Thailand, with the Government declaring a broad revision to Sandbox and entry programs and making it easier for international travellers to enter Thailand. Yacht captains and owners interested in learning more, or who are looking to receive the most up to date information, can email [email protected].