While popular South Asian destinations like Bali are shutting the door on international tourism until 2021, Thailand may represent some hope. The country is hoping to allow foreign tourists to enter the country in October, through a program called “Safe and Sealed,” which will allow tourism in designated areas.
According to Thailand’s Minister of Tourism Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, “I have asked the prime minister for approval to set October 1 as the date to allow (inbound) tourists to enter. I also have requested to use Phuket as a pilot model … and have received approval from the Center for Economic Situation Administration.”
In the program’s early stages, tourists will be allowed to fly into Phuket, and must quarantine for 14 days. Resorts would be set up on the island’s beaches, allowing tourists to both quarantine as well as enjoy a safe, socially distanced vacation. Travelers would be required to take a COVID-19 test at the beginning and end of their quarantine period, after which time they would be free to travel throughout the rest of the island.
Additionally, hotel staff will not be allowed to leave these designated zones and will be tested regularly.
Travelers who wish to leave Phuket will need to quarantine for an additional seven days and take a third COVID-19 test.
Local residents still need to approve this plan before the country reopens to international visitors.