A number of officials, including Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn will meet in Phuket today to discuss the implementation of area quarantine on the southern island, possibly as soon as next month. Thai PBS World reports that various hotel representatives and other tourism businesses are expected to attend the meeting.
The idea of area quarantine has been proposed for a number of tourist destinations, including Phuket, in the desperate hope of attracting more foreign tourists. Visitors would still need to have all the necessary paperwork and insurance for travel to Thailand, including a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travel. However, once in area quarantine, they would only be required to remain in their hotel rooms for the first 3 days of their stay. They would be tested for Covid-19 and, if negative after 3 days, allowed to leave the room and roam freely around the resort for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine.
The idea is to allow more foreign visitors freedom of movement and Phuket officials are hoping to get going with the scheme from as early as next month, subject to government approval. The pandemic has destroyed tourism on the southern island, with many hotels closed either temporarily or for good, and those that remain open struggling to survive. Occupancy rates have plummeted, reaching just 20% during holidays and weekends, thanks only to domestic tourists.
The area quarantine concept gives some cause for hope, as does the National Communicable Disease Committee’s approval of vaccine passports. These can be used to reduce mandatory quarantine for vaccinated foreign tourists, meaning anyone that can produce proof of vaccination would be subject to 7 days’ quarantine instead of the current 14. However, travellers from South Africa will still have to endure the full 14 days, due to variants of the virus found in that country.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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