BANGKOK, 10 June 2021: Pending a final stamp of approval from the government, Phuket prepares to reopen to fully vaccinated international travellers starting 1 July.
National News Bureau of Thailand confirmed Wednesday the sandbox project will go ahead but only for travellers visiting Phuket. Based on the success of the Phuket project, other destinations could open to vaccinated travellers without a 14-day quarantine, possibly by October.
Over the last few weeks, requirements have been fine-tuned, revised and revisited, prompting some tour operators to say that once again, Thailand is complicating what should be a simple process based on vaccination proof and PCR tests.
Earlier this week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand rolled out details of the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ model with some changes to what had been reported earlier in the media.
Most significantly, vaccinated travellers arriving in Phuket will have to stay put on the island for 14 days before they are free to travel elsewhere in the country. Previously it was reported they would have to spend seven days on the island before travelling elsewhere in the country. Below the Association of Thai Travel Agents posted the latest details on its Facebook page.
Jab gives the green light
Applicable for international travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no less than 14 days, but no more than one year before the travel date.
All vaccinated international arrivals must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Not every nationality is eligible
Travellers entering Phuket under the ‘sandbox’ project must be from countries/regions with a low to medium risk of the SAR-CoV-2 virus and its variants. The list is not available, although ATTA says one is due to be released by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) this week.
Children under six years of age travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians are allowed to visit without vaccination or a PCR test.
Children six to 18 travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at their own expense.
All Covid-19 tests must follow the guidelines set out by Thailand’s MoPH.
All arrivals are required to download and install the ThailandPlus application on their smartphones and must keep the app on all the time as they move to different locations around Phuket.
All arrivals are required to stay in resorts or hotels that have Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification. The ‘Plus’ designation indicates that at least 70% of the hotel’s staff have been vaccinated.
Duration on the island
Travellers must stay for at least 14 nights on the island before they are allowed to visit other Thai destinations. They can, however, book short stays of less than 14 days in Phuket and return home directly.
Travellers are allowed to engage in any tourism activities but are advised to strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for Covid-19, and join a contact tracing application (Thai Chana and Mor Chana).
Paperwork before you fly
In order to be eligible to enter Thailand, vaccinated international travellers – and their children – need to complete all the paperwork and requirements to board flights to Phuket.
It is also possible to fly to Bangkok to join a connecting flight to Phuket with transit isolated from other passengers. Special flights will serve the Bangkok – Phuket route designated for only passengers transferring under the ‘Sandbox” project.
What you need to fly
A vaccine certificate
It should prove you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no less than 14 days, but no later than one year before the travel date with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO);
A valid visa
You will need to apply for a visa at a Thai embassy or consulate as the online visa, visa-on-arrival, and visa-free travel are currently suspended.
Certificate of Entry (COE)
Issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate, you will need to show the certificate when checking in for the flight and also at the immigration counter on arrival in Thailand.
Covid-19 health insurance
The policy must have a minimum cover of USD100,000 and be valid for 30 days.
Confirmation of an accommodation booking for 14 nights in SHA Plus-certified hotels or resorts is required. If the stay is for less than 14 days in Phuket and you intend to return home on a direct flight, you will still need to show proof of bookings at SHA Plus resorts for the shorter duration to immigration and health officers.
A medical certificate from an RT-PCR laboratory that confirms a negative result issued not more than 72 hours before the flight’s departure.
Pass through immigration and customs procedures and take another Covid-19 RT-PCR test.
Download the ThailandPlus application.
During your stay
Undergo a COVID-19 test using an RT-PCR or a rapid antigen test on day five in accordance with MoPH’s guidelines;
If you are travelling from Phuket to other Thai destinations, vaccinated international travellers are required to show a vaccine certificate and a medical certificate that they have tested negative for COVID-19;
For those travelling from Phuket back to their home countries, they will have to comply with quarantine or self-isolation rules in their home countries as Thailand is under an amber traffic light for most countries.