The Thai Tourism Authority (TAT), along with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, is continuing to pursue opening five islands to foreign tourists in Thailand later this year, likely around the critical “Quarter Four”.
The proposal, which would have to be approved by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the Ministry of Public Health, has been brought up despite repeated attempts to find a way to allow “travel bubbles” and similar programs being shot down. The TAT has been brainstorming for a way to safely allow in some foreign tourists before the end of the year and the critical fourth quarter to attempt to save the struggling hospitality and tourism industry.
The proposal would involve the opening of five islands including Phuket, Phi Phi island and Samui, Pha Ngan and Tao islands in Surat Thani because such areas could be easily regulated in terms of care, quarantine and monitoring of tourists in different areas to ensure the safety of both the community and the tourists themselves.
The exact details of the proposal have not been finalized and are subject to change. Under the plan, there would be extensive Covid-19 testing before and after arrival along with mandatory insurance requirements, a fit to fly certificate from a doctor, mandatory usage of a Covid-19 application and other items, but no two week quarantine. Visitors under the proposal would be unable to leave their destination and subject to regular health checks as well as likely have set agendas and schedules such as being part of an organized tour group.
Meanwhile, many prominent doctors who advise the Ministry of Public Health and CCSA are against any sort of proposal to allow in tourists without a mandatory quarantine, pointing out the fact Thailand has gone almost eighty days without a single confirmed case of Covid-19 locally spread. The Pattaya News notes that it is unlikely such a proposal would be approved as long as significant opposition remains to it and fear from the general population over the virus.
Unfortunately, Pattaya, arguably the hardest hit along with Phuket in the country due to an estimated 80% of the local revenue coming from tourism, is not part of the proposal due to concerns about being able to control the situation properly as opposed to an island.