A plan to allow vaccinated international tourists to visit Phuket without needing to quarantine cleared the final hurdle after Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Centre for Economic Situation Administration approved it late last week. Several airlines have since announced their plans to resume flights to the island.
There was one key change to the scheme that tourists will want to note. Overseas arrivals now must stay in Phuket for a minimum of 14 days. This is up from seven days which was the time frame originally proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Other regulations remain unchanged. Firstly, foreign arrivals to Phuket are required to hold a vaccination certificate with the vaccine needing to be registered under Thai law or approved by the World Health Organization.
Secondly, visitors are only allowed to stay at hotels that have received a Safety & Health Administration Plus hygiene standards certification. Other rules for travelers include being required to use contact tracing apps during their time in Phuket.
TAT noted Phuket has vaccinated nearly 60 percent of its population. It remains on course to reach its goal of inoculating 70 percent of local residents and all tourism operators before the July 1 reopening.
What airlines will fly directly to Phuket?
With the plan allowing vaccinated tourists to visit Phuket quarantine free officially approved by the government, several airlines have unveiled their intentions to resume flights. Unsurprisingly, Thai Airways will have the biggest presence, operating six international routes.
Direct flights to Phuket from Zurich, Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London and Hong Kong will commence on July 2. However, demand for the latter route looks set to be limited with Hong Kong requiring all arrivals from Thailand to quarantine for 14 days.
Emirates announced it will resume four weekly services for its Dubai-Phuket route. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is launching four weekly flights from Doha to Phuket. Both routes are expected to serve clients from Europe and America via connecting flights.