As part of authorities’ efforts to boost the tourism sector in Phuket, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, Governor Narong Woonciew decided to relax quarantine measures for visitors from 21 provinces, including Bangkok.
Under this new decree, people in the announced provinces will not have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
The provinces are Bangkok, Tak, Samut Prakan, Saraburi, Prachinburi, Pathum Thani, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Suphanburi, Samut Songkhram, Lopburi, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Singburi, Sa Kaew, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Nayiri, Khan, Ranchuap Khiri, and Chumphon.
However, this new rule does not apply to travelers from the seven provinces under maximum control.
These are Samut Sakhon, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Chanthaburi, Rayong, Chonburi, and Trat. People from said provinces that want to visit Phuket have to be quarantined for 14 days.
According to Governor Narong Woonciew, visitors from all provinces, including those that should not undertake quarantine, must strictly comply with already established measures, including wearing masks, taking care of their health, and avoiding mass gatherings.
On the other hand, Phuket Tourist Association’s president Bhummikitti Ruktaengam said that the vaccine could be a solution to help the tourism industry recover, ensuring that one of the most effective measures would be to allow the entry of foreigners as of October.
He also urged the government to develop a plan to anticipate the country’s reopening and offer clear answers to the private sector to prevent tourism-related businesses from dying.
If at least 70% of Phuket’s population were inoculated and foreigners entering the territory received the shot, locals would be sure that tourists would not bring new infections, he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted Phuket, Thailand’s second most important tourist destination.
In 2019, Phuket International Airport received approximately 25,452 visits per day, managing to welcome over 15 million tourists the whole year. However, due to coronavirus restrictions, the number of visitors to the city dropped to 25,596 between March and October.
That same year, the country received more than $60 billion in tourism revenue, but the arrival of tourists fell by over 80% in 2020 due to the COVID-19.
Although Thailand is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases – which is even more significant than the first, authorities are scrambling to rescue the tourism sector, especially in Phuket.