Sandbox Now Open For Everyone: Thailand Reopening Continues
According to a recent announcement by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 from any country can apply to travel to Phuket under the Sandbox program. This means that travelers from previously excluded countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, can now travel to the resort destination and a few of its surrounding islands.
The announcement was made with hopes of reviving Thailand’s tourism market which has taken a major hit since the onset of the pandemic. TAT’s current objective is to attract more international tourists, especially since the government decided to reduce the mandatory quarantine period to seven days for vaccinated individuals.
According to TAT, the government’s previous list of 80 eligible countries would no longer be followed, instead, it will be welcoming travelers from any country — based on the risk of COVID transmission. “This means Thailand is now welcoming travelers from any country in the world to the Sandbox program,” stated the agency in its announcement. Additionally, Tanee Sangrat, spokesman for the Thai Foreign Ministry, new provisions allowed for unvaccinated children to travel with their vaccinated parents under the program.
Mandatory quarantine periods have been reduced for travelers visiting areas including Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Khao Lak, Koh Yao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai, and Railay Beach. Likewise, fully vaccinated tourists can travel directly to these areas where they can stay for seven days.
The Sandbox program is the initial phase of the Thai government’s plans to gradually reopen its popular tourist destinations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan for vaccinated tourists starting from 1st of November. The government hopes that mandatory quarantine will not be a necessity by then, with the goal of having 20 or more destinations to be accessible to tourists by December. Likewise, Tourism and Sports Ministry is looking at designating “blue zone“ for areas, like Phuket, Krabi, and Surat Thani, where no quarantine would be required.