PHUKET (NNT) – New, more relaxed rules for the Phuket Sandbox campaign are to be proposed to the government’s COVID-19 task force. It is recommended that new rules allow Sandbox tourists to travel out of Phuket to selected areas in Thailand after seven days since arrival, giving tourists more flexibility than the current 14-day stay requirement.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is proposing an extension of the Phuket Sandbox campaign, allowing tourists to visit selected tourism areas apart from Phuket after the first seven days in the island province.
The new regulation, if approved, will shorten the time tourists in this quarantine-free tourism campaign are required to stay only in Phuket from 14 days to 7 days, however the number of places they could travel to after 7 days would still be limited. Tourists will however, continue to be allowed to travel freely within Thailand after 14 days.
Selected tourism areas being proposed by the TAT as Phuket Sandbox extensions include Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngam, and Ko Tao in Surat Thani; Khao Lak, Ko Yao Yai, and Ko Yao Noi in Phang Nga; Ko Phi Phi, Railay Beach, and Ko Ngai in Krabi.
The Center for Economic Situation Administration’s (CESA) Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, said today that Phuket has welcomed some 200,000 international visitors since the start of the Phuket Sandbox campaign on 1st July, leading to 371,826 night bookings at hotels in Q3, 2021.
So far, 55 visitors have tested positive to COVID-19 after arrival, amounting to 0.28% of all Sandbox tourists.
The Sandbox campaign allows international tourists to come from areas with only low transmission of COVID-19, plus full vaccination with WHO or Thai FDA approved vaccines 14 days prior to arrival.
Mr Thanakorn said the government has urged related agencies to enhance safety measures to protect tourists, and to secure areas that could be dangerous for visitors.
He said visitor safety improvement measures must be implemented, alongside strict COVID-19 screening and security surveillance.