The Royal Thai Government are hoping to breathe life back into Thailand's largest island of tourist-popular Phuket. The onset of the pandemic has devasted the global tourism industry. Ninety-five per cent of Phuket's employment and income was generated by tourism, and the travel sector made up some 20% of Thailand’s total economy. Phuket is keen to cautiously open its doors once again to fully vaccinated tourists from lower-risk countries.
The sandbox is a highly controlled environment supervised by a regulatory authority. Existing lockdown regulations are relaxed to allow businesses and governments to experiment with new products or services, thus creating a safe travel blueprint for future visitors.
General Information – Phuket Sandbox | Credit: TAT News
The first sandbox flight arrived on Thursday, 1 July. Firetrucks blasted celebratory water canons to form an arch to welcome the Etihad aircraft from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as it taxied the first visitors to their gate.
Although coronavirus cases in Bangkok and other provinces continue to plague the country with uncertainty, new cases on Phuket were minimal, with only one or two new cases each day. The government, their scientists, doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to ensure over 70 per cent of the residential population were vaccinated before the first international flight arrived.
Together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the government hopes that international travellers will understand and abide by the coronavirus-related guidelines. These regulations are in place so that visitors can enjoy a tropical beach holiday in the land of smiles.
What are the measures for travellers staying at least 14 nights?
There are various measures that travellers must take into consideration in the lead up to their flight. Travellers must commence their travels from a TAT approved country that they have resided in for at least 21 days before travel. They are advised to avoid at-risk or overly crowded places for 14-days before their travel date. When departing Thailand, each traveller must be screened for COVID-19 according to the rules of the country of entry.
Each traveller must be able to provide the following documentation, or access to their flight will be denied:
1. A Certificate of Entry issued only by the traveller’s local Thai Embassy or Consulate.
2. A medical certificate with a negative laboratory result by RT-PRC method no more than 72 hours before travel time.
3. Insurance policy in English covering healthcare and treatment expenses for illnesses, including for COVID-19 for the duration of their stay in Thailand for at least US$100,000.
4. Payment confirmation of 14 nights stay, and RT-PCR tests at TAT approved hotels.
5. Visitors over 18 years must provide a vaccination certificate against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the MoPH or the World Health Organisation (WHO) no less than 14 days before the travel date.
On arrival, the various procedures that have been put in place by Thailand’s Immigration and Customs must undergo health screening on arrival at Phuket International Airport.
Download the alert application to their smartphones and ensure that it is on at all times.
2. Upon leaving the airport, the approved airport transfer will take guests to their hotels.
3. Once at the hotel, undergo an RT-PCR method test and remain in accommodation until results are delivered. A second test is required on day six or seven, and a third on day 12 or 13 as per the MoPH’s guidelines.
4. Anyone who tests positive will be referred to a specified healthcare facility for treatment.
5. Once tested negative for COVID-19, travellers can go anywhere in Phuket.
6. When 14 nights in Phuket is completed, travellers can travel freely to other parts of Thailand. They must prove that they have completed a 14-night stay in Phuket and provide the other required documentation following guidelines.
For more details and updates to the Phuket Sandbox regulations please check the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s website: https://www.tatnews.org/2021/07/phuket-sandbox-faqs/