Hua Hin and Cha Am will implement the so-called ‘Phuket Sandbox’ model when the destinations reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists later this year.
However, both destinations will be among some of the last to open to foreign tourists, it was confirmed on Friday (June 18).
The ‘Sandbox’ will allow vaccinated foreigners from low risk countries to visit a destination without the need to quarantine.
If the pilot project is successful, it will be the first time in more than a year people will be able to visit Thailand without having to quarantine for 14 days.
The ‘Island Approach’ will begin with the Phuket Sandbox model from 1 July, followed by the Samui Plus (Surat Thani) for Samui-Phangan-Tao Sealed Routes from 15 July.
The approach will continue in August with an ‘Extension’ concept to be introduced to a visit to Phuket, linking with ‘Krabi Even More Amazing’ (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Ko Railay) or ‘Phang Nga Prompt’ (Khao Lak and Ko Yao).
From September, the ‘Sealed Approach’ will be launched for specific areas and routes in ‘Charming Chiang Mai’ (Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Tang and Doi Tao Districts), Chon Buri: Neo Pattaya (Pattaya City and Bang Lamung and Sattahip Districts), and Buri Ram (Mueang District and the Chang Arena).
“For Buri Ram specifically, 70% of the local population must be inoculated in preparations for the 2021 Thailand MotoGP at the Chang International Circuit on 8-10 October,” Mr. Yuthasak said.
Then from October or within the fourth quarter, Bangkok, Cha-Am and Hua Hin, as well as any other Thai destinations that are ready, will be reopened to vaccinated foreign tourists without quarantine, the Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed on June 18.
Under the proposals for Hua Hin, the areas from the town centre, Khao Takiab and down to Suan Son had been earmarked to be Hua Hin’s ‘Sandbox’, meaning foreign tourists could stay in these places without restrictions, but not travel elsewhere.
However, it remains to be seen how easily this could be enforced and is perhaps part of the reason, given Hau Hin’s location that the region looks set to be one of the last areas that will re-open to international tourists.