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Thailand Welcomes Tourists Under “Phuket Sandbox” Initiative, Flights from India Still Not Allowed

Representational photo.

Representational photo.

Only the people who have spent a minimum of 21 days in about 66 low to medium risk countries will be given quarantine free entry in Phuket.

​To reboot the economy of Thailand amid the pandemic, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has decided to open the country again to tourism. In 2020, at the end of the year, plans to start international tourism in Thailand were made. It included golf quarantine and visas for long stays. But it did not work as the country was hit by second wave. Since international tourism is an important part of the country’s economy, arrangements are being made to restart it.

As per reports, from July 1 vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit Phuket’s Thai beach without having to go any quarantine. Although the country is battling with third wave of the pandemic and this decision can be risky, according to the PM it is what is right for the country. As per the Bank of Thailand, 11% of the GDP comes from the spending’s of the foreign tourists. Not, just that, 20% of Thailand’s employment comes from this industry.

The arrival of the tourists drastically came down from 2019 to this year. This quarantine free experiment is being called the “Phuket sandbox”. The country is hoping that the success of this experiment will lead to reopening of other things as well. There are some restrictions attached to the experiment. Only the people who have spent a minimum of 21 days in about 66 low to medium risk countries will be given quarantine free entry in Phuket. They are required to apply for a certificate of entry to get a visa to Thailand (but there are some countries which are visa-exempt for short stays).

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On June 29, the official rules that needs to be followed for this experiment were given in the Thai Royal Gazette. There are some conditions under which the program can be suspended. For example, if weekly new infection of Phuket reaches 90 or if hospitalisation rate goes up to 80% of the capacity of the local health system.

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first published:July 02, 2021, 17:42 IST