International yachts and superyachts are again looking at Phuket as a favoured destination as an expected resumption of the quarantine-free ‘Test & Go’ tourism scheme from February.
On January 19, 2022, Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, revealed that the ministry plans to propose to the government to consider reintroducing the Test & Go form of immigration without detention and start operations from February 1 onwards.
The Ministry of Tourism urged the Ministry of Education to open Test & Go again on 1 Feb. “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.”
Thailand is expected to reopen to vaccinated tourists, which should allow the country to attract at least 8 million tourists this year, says the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said his ministry plans to push for the resumption of the Test & Go scheme next month. He said each major tourism province has to prepare hotel isolation for asymptomatic tourists who test positive, while tourists have to undergo two RT-PCR tests.
“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,” Mr Phiphat said.
Among measures being considered are establishing more “sandbox” areas for tourists, who can 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 be designated a ‘sandbox’ area. The eastern Gulf of Thailand & Koh Samui, the other favored yachting destination, followed closely in receiving a ‘sandbox’ designation. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters new sandbox areas in Thailand could include Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Khon Kaen and Samut Prakan provinces.