The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has reported that the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) at its meeting yesterday (22 July 2021) approved in principle a proposal that would allow tourists to Phuket to extend their stay under new, revised requirements.
The proposal seeks to allow tourists visiting under the Phuket Sandbox programme to extend their trip on a 7+7 basis. That is, they could stay in Phuket for 7 days and then visit another of the pilot destinations in which Thailand is reopening to tourism for at least 7 days, effective from 1 August 2021.
The other pilot destinations proposed are Surat Thani (Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao), Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, and Railay Beach), and Phang Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao).
Under the current Phuket Sandbox requirements, tourists must first stay in Phuket for 14 nights before they can travel to another destination in Thailand. Tourists wanting to stay less than 14 nights in Phuket can do so, but from Phuket, they must leave Thailand for another country.
The new proposal would reverse the existing requirement that states tourists cannot stay in Phuket for only 7 nights and then move to another destination; such as Samui or Phang Nga.
Following the approval in principle of the proposal by the CESA, which handles economic and social rehabilitation following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial governors in each of the pilot destinations are to coordinate with the private and public sectors to create an understanding of what is being planned.
Each respective pilot destination is to prepare the necessary rules and regulations along with the same standard as those for the Phuket Sandbox programme to ensure health and safety and to curb the spread of COVID-19 in these areas.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and TAT are to submit full details of the plan to link tourism routes between Phuket and other pilot destinations for approval by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Moving forward, they are also to prepare plans to open other potential destinations for approval by the CESA and CCSA.