Thailand expands tourism sandbox


Island hopping is making a comeback in Thailand. Vaccinated tourists arriving in Phuket, the most famous and popular of Thailand’s beach resorts, under the tourism sandbox program will be allowed to travel on to several other provinces and beaches after the first seven days of arrival at the southern island resort.

On July 1, Thailand took the initial steps to reopen the Kingdom to tourists by implementing the Phuket sandbox. The sandbox allows vaccinated visitors to stay in certain areas of the island. The intention is to prevent tourists from mixing with locals.

It is believed to be preventive to separate the two groups of people. Tourists who arrive in Phuket would be tested for the coronavirus right away and isolated if they are tested positive.

At first, tourists could only visit Phuket as the authorities waited to see if the sandbox worked both in terms of attracting tourists and preventing outbreaks.

As the sandbox has been successful so far, the authorities have expanded the program and its destinations. After seven days in Phuket, tourists can travel to islands and beaches in three other provinces: Surat Thani, Krabi and Phang-nga.

The other islands and beaches include Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, Railay Beach, Khao Lak, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai.

Tourists who wish to island-hop must take and pass a COVID-19 before leaving Phuket on the 8th day.

From July 1, when the sandbox kicked off, until August 14, Phuket has welcomed 20,727 tourists.  The largest number of travelers came from USA.

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