Thailand’s famous resort island Phuket is set to be the first province to waive the quarantine requirement for foreign visitors who have been vaccinated from July 1.
Foreign tourists at Phuket international airport in November 2020 (File photo: AFP/VNA)
The Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, recently approved a proposal to inoculate at least 70 percent of the island’s population by July 1 in order to reopen tourism for vaccinated holidaymakers.
Minister of Tourism and Sport of Thailand Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said tourists travelling to Phuket will be required to receive two shots of COVID-19 vaccine under the so-called "Phuket Tourism Sandbox" programme, which is touted as a model for the reopening of the country’s tourism industry.
Thailand's tourism industry has been seriously affected by COVID-19. Last year, foreign visitor numbers plunged 83 percent from nearly 40 million in 2019 to just 6.7 million. The state planning agency predicts 3 million arrivals this year.
The World Bank on March 26 forecast a 3.4 percent growth for Thailand this year, down from the previous projection of 4 percent. However, the Thai Government aims for a 4 percent growth in 2021 and 2022 as well.