11 July 2024

A group of foreign tourists, mostly German, arrived on Thailand’s popular resort island of Phuket on Saturday. They are the first in more than a year. They are here under the “Sandbox” travel bubble program, which is aimed at gradually reopening Thailand to foreign arrivals as the COVID-19 situation improves.

The visitors flew from Frankfurt on scheduled Thai Airways International flights. THAI’s sales director, Jesada Chanterama, said that most of the German tourists landed at Suvarnabhumi international airport, with rest landing in Phuket.

Under the first phase of the Sandbox travel program, the arriving passengers must show a certificate, indicating that they have been inoculated against COVID-19, and will be required to quarantine, at their own expense, at their hotels for seven days, after which they can venture out, with their whereabouts being electronically tracked.

Nantida Atiset, vice president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said that, currently, only about 30% of the hotels on Phuket are operational, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but more are expected to resume operations as arrivals increase.