The popular Thai island of Phuket will start welcoming vaccinated travellers in July, according to reports, months earlier than initially expected. By Alison Fox
Travellers who have been fully vaccinated will not have to undergo quarantine to visit the beach destination after the country’s Coronavirus task force on Friday gave them the all-clear to start welcoming tourists this summer, Reuters reported on Friday. By then, the island plans to have inoculated 70 per cent of its residents.
Phuket will serve as a pilot programme for other tourist destinations like Koh Samui, Bloomberg reported, opening at least three months earlier than the rest of the country. The plan is in line with what the country’s tourism industry pushed for earlier this month.
“If we can inoculate 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the population we can open the country safely and move the economy and tourism forward,” senior health official Kiattiphum Wongraijit told Reuters. Thailand hopes to have half of its population vaccinated by the end of the year.
Next month, the country will make it a bit easier to visit with many vaccinated visitors to Thailand only having to quarantine for seven days, Reuters noted. Starting April 1, those who have not received the jab will have to quarantine for 10 days, reduced from 14 days, according to the US Embassy & Consulate in Thailand.
Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, told Bloomberg at least 100,000 visitors are expected to head to Phuket in the third quarter.
“There are people who are fully vaccinated and ready to travel,” Supasorn said. “But they would only choose destinations that have vaccinated its residents and don’t require quarantine.”
The opening comes months earlier than officials initially expected with Phuket originally hoping to welcome tourists by the Fall.
For those who do have to quarantine, the country offers luxurious options complete with a heated pool, fully-equipped gym, and a personal spa all with views of lush rice fields and jungles.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel+Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.