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International yachts and superyachts could soon see Phuket return as a preferred destination following the announcement of the resumption of the quarantine-free ‘Test & Go’ tourism scheme.
On 19th January 2022, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, revealed that the ministry plans to propose to the government that they reconsider reintroducing the ‘Test & Go’ form of immigration without detention. The Ministry of Tourism urged the Ministry of Education to open ‘Test & Go’ again on 1st of February 2022.
“Right now, we are preparing a plan to propose to the BOE meeting next week, to move forward with ‘Test & Go’ because we believe that the Ministry of Public Health can manage and control it,” Ratchakitprakarn said.
Thailand is expected to reopen to vaccinated tourists, which should allow the country to attract at least 8 million tourists this year, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Ratchakitprakarn said each major tourism province has to prepare hotel isolation for asymptomatic tourists who test positive, while tourists must undergo two RT-PCR tests.
He added, “Tourism is the engine that can revive the overall economy the fastest. It is important to resume travel activities, which have slowed since the suspension of the ‘Test & Go’ scheme.”
Another measure being considered is the increase of ‘sandbox’ areas, allowing tourists to skip quarantine if they stay in specified areas for seven days and undergo two COVID-19 tests.
The Andaman Sea’s Phuket Island, south east Asia’s superyacht hub, was among the first to become a designated ‘sandbox’ area. The eastern gulf of Thailand and Koh Samui, another popular yachting hotspot, followed closely in becoming another designated ‘sandbox’ area.
Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, told reporters that the new ‘sandbox’ areas in Thailand could include Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Khon Kaen and Samut Prakan provinces.
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