Quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui likely starting on October 1st

Quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui
Looking to getaway? Quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui is expected to begin in October

It’s important to preface this article by saying a lot can happen between now and October. However, it appears quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui will likely start on October 1 assuming each location can reach certain benchmarks.

These include each destination managing to build up herd immunity by having 70 percent of local residents vaccinated for COVID-19. This process isn’t expected to start until June. Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports has laid out a few other eligibility requirements that it wants implemented before signing off on quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui.

The most notable requirement would be that only visitors from countries with a vaccination rate of 70 percent or above would be allowed to travel to Phuket and Samui without needing to quarantine. A report from TTR Weekly suggested the government could look to sign bilateral agreements with countries meeting this benchmark in order to facilitate two-way travel.   

With their own international airports and island locations, quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui starting on October 1 is seen as more practical than opening up all of Thailand. That being said, some freedom of movement in Samui is expected.

Tourism Association of Koh Samui President Ratchaporn Poolsawadee told Bloomberg that vaccinated arrivals could also travel to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan during their stay.  

Select groups eligible for shorter quarantine

Quarantine-free travel isn’t likely to happen before October, but the Public Health Ministry is expected to reduce current requirements from 14 days to 7-10 days for approved groups. Both Thai and non-Thai citizens who are vaccinated and have tested negative for COVID-19 would be eligible for the seven day quarantine.

The National Committee on Communicable Diseases recently approved the use of vaccine passports in Thailand which has expedited the country’s move towards a shorter quarantine. The government would use that document to determine if a person entering the country was eligible. Anyone that had tested negative but was not vaccinated would need a 10-day quarantine while some groups would still be required to remain isolated for 14 days.

It remains to be seen if a vaccine passport would be a requirement for quarantine-free travel to Phuket and Samui in October or if a negative test would simply be enough.