In an attempt to revive the country’s tourism industry, which contributed to 20% of gross domestic product before the pandemic, Thailand has opened its gates and welcomed its first quarantine-free tourists back to the largest island of the country, Phuket, on the 1st day of July.
In the first five days of opening the gates of the Phuket Sandbox Scheme, it had brought travelers from all over the world with a total of 1,896 foreigners. And all those travelers that arrived in the first five days, results found that there were no positive Covid-19 infections found.
There was a total of 32 inbound flights that were operated by airlines all over the world: Thai Airways International (THAI), Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, EL AL Israel Airlines. This also includes two private airlines which were from San Jose and Dubai.
Thai Airways International (THAI)
Copenhagen Kastrup (Denmark)
Paris Charles de Gaulle (France)
London (United Kingdom)
|Etihad Airways||Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)|
|Emirates||Dubai (United Arab Emirates)|
|Qatar Airways||Doha (Qatar)|
|EL AL Israel Airlines||Tel Aviv (Israel)|
According to the Phuket International Airport Deputy Manager, as of this month (month of July), only 10 airlines have requested permission to operate flights. Additional 17 airlines have requested permission to operate scheduled flights through Phuket next month, August. And 6 more for the month of October.
It was also mentioned by the International Deputy Manager that there were thousands,14,000 as of 8th of July) of travelers from all over the world that already booked flights to Phuket between the months of July and October. He further expressed his hope to bring back tourism from the plunging economy of Phuket and Thailand.
Only for the month of July, the total number of flights to Phuket was expected to be 426, with the expected average number of flights a day to be 13. Also, for this month, the number of travelers who have booked for inbound flights on six different airlines is 8,281, and for outbound flights to be 3,613 totaling 11,894 passengers
Inbound Flights to Save Economy
The Phuket Sandbox Scheme was created to uplift the economy’s loss due to the hard lockdown imposed to fighting Covid-19 infections last year. With this, the country is starting to open the gates for travelers all around the world.
By this scheme, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hoped the scheme will bring 100,000 foreign tourists to visit the island in the next three months, July to September. With the number of 100,000 foreign tourists expectation, they hope that it will generate THB 8.9 billion ($2.7 million) revenue for the local economy.
According to a TAT Governor, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, he has mentioned that the smooth and safe reopening of Phuket to tourism for all tourists, both domestic and international, is essential. It was said that it marks the start of a significant revitalization of Phuket and other Thai destinations.
If Phuket Sandbox Scheme is successful, the country will have to proceed in applying the sandbox scheme in other island destinations, again, with no quarantine requirements. Which was already applied in the Surat Thani province. It was deemed as Samui Plus (Samui+) on the last 14th of July.
By the month of September, the application of the scheme will be applied to Krabi, Phang Nga, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, and Buri Ram. While Bangkok is planned to be reopened 1st of October. And also, the rest of Thailand is due to reopen through the month of October.
Safety Amidst Flight
Though with the commitment to safely open its gates to fully vaccinated travelers, there was no assurance that there will be no infections during the flights arriving in Phuket. Along with the commitment made to open the gates for travelers it includes the operation for the vaccination of 70% of the islands’ population for an equal measure of safety between local and foreign people inside Phuket.
On the 7th of July, Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr. Kusak Kukiattikon announced the first Phuket Sandbox Scheme traveler to be infected with Covid-19. Which turned out to be fully vaccinated with the Sinopharm Vaccine. Though he tested negative before the flight to Phuket, when he arrived at the Airport and was tested, the test result was positive.
However, Dr. Kusak has urged the public to not panic over international arrivals. He added that they can treat it as a normal case. He is confident that they can handle it with the help of the medical staff and officers that work hard to control the outbreak.
Flight to Thailand
When planning to enter Thailand visitors or travelers must have these documents: