BANGKOK, 4 August 2021: Both the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programmes are going ahead as usual, and the reopening of Krabi and Phang Nga to fully vaccinated international tourists is set to start later this month, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported on Tuesday.
The TAT press statement quotes Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Spokesperson of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), claiming Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha kept a close eye on the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programmes.
“The PM voiced confidence in the plans to revive the economy through tourism by gradually reopening destinations that could ensure the health and safety of both the tourists and local people,” TAT noted.
From 1 July until 1 August, Phuket recorded 14,910 international arrivals under the Sandbox programme. Of these, 34 tested positive for COVID-19 and had been sent for medical treatment.
To contain local transmissions, Phuket has stepped up screening measures on domestic travellers from 3 to 16 August to prevent the spread of the disease from other Thai provinces, while international arrivals under the Sandbox programme can still enter Phuket per the existing rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, the 54 new cases on Samui island traced to a restaurant cluster has been brought under control. There is no link to foreign tourists under the Samui Plus programme or those who continued their journey from the Phuket Sandbox programme.
From 15 July to 1 August, Surat Thani recorded 137 international visitors under the Samui Plus programme, with one person testing positive for Covid-19. In addition, there were 211 tourists from the Phuket Sandbox programme who visited Samui without any health or travel issues.
Krabi and Phang Nga are scheduled to reopen selected areas within this month under a 7+7 model. This will allow foreign tourists under the Sandbox programme to reduce the mandatory stay in Phuket from 14 to seven days, after which another seven nights can be spent in Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, and Railay Beach), and Phang Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao).
The 7+7 model aims to provide international tourists with more options to visit multiple destinations during their trip to Thailand. Krabi and Phang Nga are ideal for this given their proximity to and ease of access from Phuket.
The transfer to Phang Nga, Khao Lak takes 90 minutes by car. A 30 to 40-minute transfer by boat from Phuket’s Bang Rong Pier gets visitors to Ko Noi and Ko Yao Yai.
From Rassada Pier, the boat transfer to Krabi, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai and Railay Beach takes 45 to 55 minutes.
Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga are designated Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces (total 11 provinces) following revisions and new restrictions from 3 to 31 August.