Americans are top tourists at Phuket Sandbox

American citizens were the leading nationality to visit Phuket in July, the first month of the “sandbox” program that allows visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 enter the beach resort island.

The number of Americans was even greater than the number of Thais who visited the “Pearl of the Andaman” last month, according to the government’s statistics. A total of 1,898 people from the U.S. took advantage of the sandbox, while local visitors numbered 1,853.

Americans and Thais set the pace and were followed by British, Israeli, and German tourists for the top five. French, UAE, Swiss, Dutch and Australian visitors rounded out the top ten.

Thailand had posed restricted tourist measures due to waves of COVID-19 outbreaks. While that strategy has prevented the outbreaks from reaching the level of an epidemic, measures could be relaxed as the global situation gets better for the tourism sector, which is crucial to the Thai economy to be back on track without delay.

The sandbox program is the government’s first step to revive international tourism. It allows visitors from overseas who have been vaccinated to visit certain locations and travel within the limited areas during the first 14 days of arrival.

Phuket was the first location for this experiment. Since then, other beach provinces have implemented the sandbox program, including Koh Samui, Krabi and Phang Nga.

The numbers of visitors have been relatively small since the Phuket sandbox opened in July, but Thai officials, who said the figures were encouraging, hope they will increase as the program proves to be successful.

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