By Laura Kemp • 26 March 2021 • 12:57
Phuket to Open to Vaccinated Tourists From July 1. Image - Pixabay
THE popular tourist destination of Phuket, Thailand, will open to vaccinated tourists on July 1.
According to Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, on Friday an economic panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approved a proposal from Phuket’s private sector and business groups to vaccinate at least 70% of the island’s residents in preparation to reopen to vaccinated tourists.
Thailand will also waive the quarantine requirements for inoculated visitors arriving in Phuket from July 1. This is the first step to reopening for a nation that is hugely reliant on tourism.
The reopening plan will first be tested in Phuket before an expansion to other key tourist hot spots, such as Koh Sumai, in a bid to help restart the tourism industry that has been hit by a year without tourism – which contributed to one-fifth of the economy before the pandemic.
The approval of the plan means that Phuket will reopen three months earlier than the rest of Thailand, which is set to reopen in October to those who have been fully vaccinated.
Mr Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the island’s tourist association, said earlier this week that residents of Phuket will also be prioritised in the roll-out of the vaccine, with more than 930,000 doses expected to be given before the reopening.
Bhummikitti said that the successful early reopening, which could add more than 30 billion baht to the economy, also relies on negotiations with other countries to allow free travel and the international passport agreement.
Mr Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said: “There are people who are fully vaccinated and ready to travel. But they would only choose destinations that have vaccinated its residents and don’t require quarantine.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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