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Thai govt agrees on Phuket plan

A near empty restaurant on Raway beach on Phuket. Hotels in Thailand’s most popular holiday island have been forced to slash prices with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as tourist chiefs struggle with a plunge in visitors from China caused by the US trade war and stronger baht. Photo: AFP/Mladen Antonov. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Jun 8, 2021, Bangkok Post. The cabinet on Tuesday agreed in principle on the so-called Phuket Sandbox, a tourism reopening programme scheduled to kick off next month as a prelude to tourism reopening in Thailand’s ten most popular tourist destinations, Bangkok Post reported.

Proposed by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the tourism reopening plan, designed to be implemented in the third and fourth quarters of this year, has already been approved in principle by the Centre for Economic Situation Administration(Cesa), said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Starting with the resort island of Phuket, the reopening plan will from July 1 welcome tourists from countries with low- and medium-risks of Covid-19 transmissions who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, said the PM.

About 400,000 people in Phuket, or more than 60% of its entire population, have already been vaccinated against Covid-19 as well, he said.

Foreign tourists intending to visit Phuket under this tourism promotion programme will be required to show proof of them having been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days before travelling along with a document pertaining permission to enter Thailand, he said. While staying here, these tourists are required to undergo a number of Covid-19 tests, he added.

The implementation of the Phuket Sandbox will come as a test of Thailand’s ability to strike a balance between maintaining public health security and the need to salvage the economy, he said.

The reopening plan will next be reviewed one last time by Cesa on details recommended by the cabinet yesterday and will be then re-submitted to the cabinet for endorsement, he said.

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