Get the deck chairs back

PHUKET, 27 May 2021: Phuket’s travel and tourism industry is rallying its workforce to get ready for the island’s reopening on 1 July to international visitors who have been vaccinated.

The government has reassured the travel industry and the island’s residents it will be the first destination in Thailand to trial the so-called “Sandbox model” that reopens a destination to international tourists without the need for a 14-day quarantine.

Photo: Supichaya.

The countdown has started, and less than six weeks remain before the first international visitors arrive in Phuket, 15 months after the country closed down. Since then, Thailand has suffered three Covid-19 waves, with the last outbreak in early April pushing infections beyond 100,000 with the death toll soaring to more than 800.

According to Delivering Asia Communications, the PR firm that represents a group of industry players on the island, “first responders to the reopening news will come from traditional long-haul European markets such as UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia.”

There is little hope that regional markets in Asia will be early adopters as vaccinated travellers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore would still face a hefty 14 to 21 days of isolation on return home from their Phuket holiday. Even the UK that has listed Thailand as an amber threat warns its citizens they will have to quarantine for 14 days at home and undergo two PCR swab tests on their return from amber-listed countries.

But Delivering Asia quotes the Phuket Tourist Association president Bhummikitti Ruktaengam saying: “The plan is still on, and 1 July is the date we will receive international travellers who have been vaccinated and who can stay in Phuket without quarantine.”

He assured travellers that the island was on track with vaccinations in order to achieve herd immunity of 70% of the population, with jabs also offered to expatriates resident on the island.

Bhummikitti advised the travel industry to prepare their infrastructure, retrain staff and implement the new SHA Plus guidelines on health and safety for the imminent return of the European market.

“Europe is a big market… there is strong demand for Q3 and Q4 already,” he said.

Getting the deck chairs ready

To view the full Thai Road Trip Special Edition interview between Phuket Tourist Association president Bhummikitti Ruktaengam and Delivering Asia Communications CEO David Johnson, click here:

“What is clear is that Phuket hotels need to get ready, and get ready quickly,” said Delivering Asia Communications CEO David Johnson, who is currently in Phuket working with the hospitality industry to prepare their reopening campaigns focusing on Europe.

“It has been a tough 15 months, but the light is at the end of the tunnel and visitors from Europe will return first,” he said. “What will be key is to not go back to offering the same thing. Hotels need to create new story narratives based on nature, culture and the destination itself using new distribution channels.”

Looking forward to the final quarter consulting group C9 Hotelworks’ Bill Barnett says that “between 35 to 40% of travellers come from cold weather destination’s in Northern, Eastern and Western Europe. As soon as the temperatures drop, the vaccinated snowbirds will inevitably lead the chargeback to the sandbox beaches, and that’s a healthy base to start the recovery storyline.”

(Source: Delivering Asia Communications)


  1. Any word on when (for vaccinated, US travelers) who want to travel to Phuket for July 1+ will be able to apply for a COE and not be required to book a 2 week stay in an ASQ? Been hearing a lot that the July 1 date is firm, but the COE has outdated requirements that don’t reflect this

    • The plan is to allow travellers to visit Phuket quarantine free as of 1 July (still waiting for official greenlight). Travellers must have proof of vaccination (two jabs) and have negative PCR test results to visit Phuket at present. Best to wait until there is the official confirmation that QT will not apply for vaccinated visitors to Phuket before planning a trip. Keep options open on travel plans until August when the situation should be clearer.

      CAAT News 19/2564: Airline passengers will be denied travel to Phuket. If you are incomplete vaccination or do not have a test document for COVID-19
      18 May 2021
      Airline passengers will be refused travel to Phuket. If you are incomplete vaccination or do not have a COVID- 19 test document.

      Previously, Phuket Province has taken measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With the Rapid Test being inspected at Phuket Airport But the latest announcement by the Communicable Diseases Committee has canceled the process.

      From 19 May 2021 onwards, passengers travelling by airline must present evidence to the airline staff from the originating airport. This is evidence of getting 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or a document confirming that COVID-19 was tested by RT-PCR or Antigen Rapid Test within 72 hours prior. The journey And have a negative test result if unable to show any evidence Passengers will be denied travel by the airline.

      In addition, before travelling to Phuket, the following actions must be taken.

      1. Download the application “Mor Won” on your smartphone and agree to enable location sharing. All the time in Phuket

      2. Register online through the website.

      This is in accordance with the resolution of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee. And in order to make the passenger’s journey to be orderly Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand Passengers are requested to check the announcements of the destination province before travelling to be able to comply with the measures of the destination province correctly and facilitate travel. They also asked to strictly adhere to the measures of the Ministry of Public Health to prevent the spread of COVID 19.

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