Phuket, a Thai province known for its white-sand beaches and cultural-rich old town, plans to open to tourists on October 1. According to the Bangkok Post, the Tourism and Sports Ministry aims to gradually welcome international travellers under its Safe and Sealed scheme, starting with Phuket and eventually Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

Targeting travelers from low-risk regions, the trial programme will require international tourists to stay for at least 30 days. To ensure health and safety, these travellers will have to spend their first 14 days at hotels participating in Thailand’s alternative state quarantine programme. Unlike traditional quarantine measures, this programme allows guests to roam public areas within their accommodation, such as the beach.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that setting aside a one- to two-kilometer stretch of a nearby beach area would allow visitors to step out of their hotels during the two-week quarantine period.

To visit Phuket, interested travellers will have to register with the Foreign Ministry and fly directly into the province. As part of the Safe and Sealed plan, visitors have to undergo swab tests for the coronavirus not just before travel but also upon arrival in Phuket. Another swab test is mandatory after the 14-day qurarrantine, and only after a negative result are guests allowed to leave their hotels and explore the island. Travellers may also visit other parts of Thailand but then a third swab test will be required in the third week of their stay.

This looks set to be good news for travelers dreaming of their next beach vacay, especially after Bali announced a delay in its reopening to 2021.

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