The Thai government approved a proposal on Friday that would allow international visitors to bypass quarantine requirements upon arrival in Phuket if they are vaccinated.
International visitors who have been vaccinated will be allowed to visit the vacation destination without being quarantined as of July 1.
“There are people who are fully vaccinated and ready to travel,” said Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. “But they would only choose destinations that have vaccinated its residents and don’t require quarantine.”
In order to move the plan to the next stage, at least 70% of Phuket's residents will need to be vaccinated.
The goverment plans to test Phuket first before it could be implemented in the rest of the country, including other holidays such as Koh Samui. In October, the rest of Thailand could perhaps welcome tourists fully vaccinated.
For local tour operators, the measure will come no too soon. Tourism is one of the biggest drivers of the national gross domestic product (GDP); the industry has suffered huge blows from the prevention measures against COVID-19.
Withdrawal from the requirement for compulsory quarantine would save an estimated 400,000 hoteliers and 400,000 additional jobs for other tourism industries across the country. Local hotel groups requested the Government of Thailand to waive compulsory quarantine requirements for entry of travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus in January.
With a record 40 million visitors in 2019, Thailand is one of the world's most popular destinations. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic brought these figures to a heading of only 6.8 million in 2020.
Thailand's Tourism Authority has also done its best to positively formulate quarantine needs. On the official website, a prominent banner proclaims, “Amazing Thailand, Happy Quarantine,” and encourages visitors to “change a boring quarantine into a joyous, relaxing time.”
However, there are no tourists who fantasise about visiting Thailand in a two weeks hotel room to create art and crafts, particularly for half-way travellers around the world who have at least 4 weeks' vacation.
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