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More than 50 percent of foreign holidaymakers have lost interest in Phuket “sandbox program” after new 14-day measure

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The number of foreign tourists preparing to visit Thailand in July shrank by more than 50 per cent after the Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) decided to increase minimum stay requirements for the “Phuket Sandbox” from July 1.

Under the previously announced sandbox scheme, fully vaccinated foreigners were exempted from quarantine but had to spend seven days in Phuket before visiting other provinces. However, the CESA suddenly doubled the minimum length of stay on Phuket Island to 14 days.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn revealed that more than 50 per cent of the 29,700 foreigners who confirmed they would come to Phuket cancelled their plans after CESA reviewed the situation. However, the ministry would ask for a month to evaluate the outcome of the practice, both in terms of infections and the impact on local tourism.

If there were no infections after a one-month trial, the ministry would propose lowering the minimum length of stay in Phuket to seven days and then extending it to other provinces.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand said two confirmed groups of tourists would arrive in Phuket in July. On July 9 a group from the United States will arrive and at the end of July, a group of 400-500 sailors from England will come to the region and spend about a week in Phuket. Tourists from Europe and America will continue to come, according to the TAT.

Visitors from countries in South Asia are still not allowed to enter Thailand as we have to wait for the Covid situation in these countries to stabilize, the TAT said.

Thai tourists must have had two doses of the Sinovac vaccine or one dose of AstraZeneca to travel to Phuket. Those who have not been vaccinated must first be tested for Covid-19.

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