How holiday-starved Aussies could enjoy lavish trips to a Thai island by JULY with no quarantine – but there’s a catch
- Holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to Phuket in Thailand by July, 2021
- Travellers will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 virus to travel overseas
- They will also need to spend one week on the island and take a test for Covid-19
- Thailand hopes the relaxed travel requirement will revive its tourism industry
- Australians must apply for special exemptions to be allowed to leave the country
Holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to Phuket and then across Thailand by July without having to stay in quarantine, as long as they are fully vaccinated.
Travellers will need to show authorities they have had Covid-19 to be able to travel to the resort island in Thailand, which is hoping to revive its dire tourist economy.
But unfortunately for Australians, special exemptions are still needed to fly overseas since the international borders closed on March 20.
If a traveller can prove they are leaving for at least three months, or for work or compassionate reasons, they can be granted the exemption from the government – but will need to quarantine when they come back to Australia.
Although Phuket visitors won’t need to quarantine in a hotel, they will need to remain on the island for one week and take a Covid-19 test before they are allowed to travel around the rest of the country.
Holidaymakers could be allowed to travel to Phuket by July without having to stay in quarantine
Thailand’s resort island of Phuket expects to have 70 per cent of its local population vaccinated by the time the new quarantine rules come into effect
Thailand will from April allow vaccinated visitors to undergo one week of quarantine instead of the required two weeks
‘On July 1, we will be able to have tourists who have received two vaccine doses come to Phuket without having to stay in quarantine,’ Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said.
‘After one week on the island, without symptoms and with negative tests, they can travel to the rest of the country.’
Thailand’s resort island of Phuket expects to have 70 per cent of its local population vaccinated by the time the new quarantine rules come into effect.
The island, which is visited typically by about a quarter of foreigners who travel to Thailand, is leading a project to revive a tourism industry battered by the pandemic, which has weighed heavily on its broader economy.
Thailand will from next month allow vaccinated visitors to undergo just one week of quarantine instead of the required two weeks.
Though its strict rules have kept coronavirus cases to a fraction of those in many other countries, it has caused tourist numbers to plummet.
The central bank expects three million foreign tourists this year, compared with 6.7 million last year and nearly 40 million in 2019, who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($61.4billion).
The tourism ministry is requesting 925,000 vaccine doses to inoculate Phuket residents starting from April, Phiphat said.
Though its strict rules have kept coronavirus cases to a fraction of those in many other countries, it has caused tourist numbers to plummet (pictured, an empty Patong beach in Phuket)
Thailand has administered about 100,000 doses among medical workers and at-risk groups so far (pictured, temperature check at Or Tor Kor Market)
Thailand has administered about 100,000 doses among medical workers and at-risk groups so far.
Authorities on Thursday approved Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine, the third to be authorised after those of AstraZeneca and Sinovac .
Phuket’s ‘Tourism Sandbox’ plan will be sent to the country’s coronavirus taskforce for approval this week.
Hoteliers are keen to deploy vaccines faster and wider to speed up the revival.
‘The government has to expedite approval of additional vaccine brands and import more vaccines and inoculate more people immediately,’ Thai Hotels Association president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi told Reuters.
Hotels had become ‘zombies’, she said, with immense debt and no profits.