Thailand plans to open the country back up to tourism by the year’s end. With that in mind there are several steps that must take place before that goal is realized. There have been many mixed messages coming from the ministries but the following is the plan as we best understand it.
July 1, 2021 – “Phuket Sandbox”
Phuket will open its doors to foreign tourists and arrivals without quarantine starting on July 1. Arriving guests must be fully vaccinated and stay on the island for a minimum of seven days before they are allowed to travel to other areas of the country.
In order for the Phuket Sandbox to happen, a massive vaccination drive is currently taking place in Phuket with the aim of inoculating at least 70 per cent of the population to achieve herd immunity.
August-September, 2021 – “50 percent”
According to the government’s projection late last year, at least 50 per cent of the population will have received the first dose of the vaccine by August-September 2021. It is unclear whether those plans have changed due to the shortages of vaccines being manufactured locally and the delay in importing alternative vaccines.
October 1, 2021 – “10 provinces”
A number of things will happen in October 2021. If the Phuket sandbox model is successful, the government will apply that to ten other provinces starting on October 1. The provinces are Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Chonburi, Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phang-nga and Buriram.
The government said that these ten provinces generated up to 1.5 trillion baht of tourism income, accounting for 75 per cent of total tourist income, and brought about 40 million foreign visitors in 2019, prior to the pandemic. It is vitally important that they reopen.
Alternative vaccines are also set to arrive in October 1 including the scheduled launch of the privately imported Moderna vaccines and the government’s import schedule of the Pfizer vaccine – although Thai Enquirer understands that the Pfizer jabs are still being negotiated.
December, 2021 – “Greenlight”
According to the government’s roadmap last year, 70 per cent of the population will be fully inoculated by the year’s end. We do not know if the delays will impact this time frame but with herd immunity reach, the country is due to open its borders once again and life will finally return to normal.
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