First foreign yacht docks at Phuket under Test & Go program

The famous southern beach province Phuket welcomed the first arrival of a foreign yacht last week under the new Test & Go program that safely opens the door to tourist arrivals despite the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the government has launched a feasibility study for building a cruise ship terminal on a popular resort island of Koh Samui off the Kingdom’s opposite coast in the Gulf of Thailand. Currently, cruise ships must anchor near the island and smaller boats transfer travelers to shore.

Phuket is the top spot in the Kingdom for yachting.  The resort island has emerged as a hub for boating, sailing and yachting in the region aside from being one of the world’s most popular destinations for beach lovers.

Yachters have been able to call on Phuket’s ports since the island opened its tourism sandbox in July last year, but they had to quarantine on their vessels for between one and two weeks before being permitted to disembark following the Kingdom’s public health measures to curb the pandemic.

Those rules did not deter some. A total of 91 yachts with 323 tourists and crew members visited Phuket last year, while 27 yachts with 92 passengers visited the province this January and February.

Under the Test & Go program, those visiting the Kingdom no longer have to quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival.

Several yacht owners, and operators of several cruise ships, have contacted the Tourism Authority of Thailand expressing interest in docking in Phuket under the Test & Go program. The island has more than 30 state-run and private piers and a deep-sea port, making it an ideal destination for seafarers.

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