Flights from London, Dubai and Doha as well as key cities in Europe and Asia which will see direct flights to Phuket from July 1st as the island resort is already back on the travel agent’s open lists for bookings. It comes as there is already tighter security and screening of visitors entering the tourist resort from the mainland to protect its status as a virus haven.
The international travel and tourism industry is beginning to sit up and take notice of the July 1st reopening of Phuket to international tourism as there is extremely positive news from the airline industry with major airlines including Thailand’s own Thai Airways adding Phuket International Airport as a key holiday destination on the world’s reawakening international flight network.
International airlines are ready to fly into Phuket from July 1st although a spokesman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Siripakorn Cheawsamoot who is responsible for Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, has indicated that despite this, initial demand in July may not be strong due to restrictions which are still in place both in Thailand and in the country of origin.
However, what is clear is that tourist arrivals from foreign countries expected to be at the outset from Europe and the United Kingdom, will not be subject to the 14-day quarantine requirement.
This was confirmed by TAT boss Yuthasak Supasorn in a letter in recent days.
Travellers are still required to obtain a Certificate of Entry from a Thai embassy or consulate and fully comply with its conditions but no quarantine
However, those travelling will still be required to obtain a Certificate of Entry from the relevant Thai embassies or consulates in their country to travel to Thailand.
They will also be required to comply with other requirements such as showing a negative test for Covid-19 within 72 hours of arrival on the resort island as well as insurance cover of $100,000.
These are laid down in information available at the network of Royal Thai embassies worldwide in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok.
Adult foreign tourists must be vaccinated
All visitors, availing of the exemption from the 14-day quarantine rule, will be required to show proof of vaccination using the 5 vaccines currently approved in Thailand which are AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer BioNtech and the Sinapharm vaccine.
Officials have indicated this list of vaccines will be added to in short order to include other vaccines such as the Moderna jab which has been used extensively in the US, UK and Europe.
There are exceptions for children under 12 accompanying vaccinated parents who do not require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test while dependents between 13 and 18 years old will only require a negative Covid-19 test.
Currently, Thailand is prohibiting flights from India as well as Nepal and Bangladesh as a precaution against the Indian variant of the virus B1617 which is reported to be 100% more infectious than the UK variant B117 which has become dominant in Thailand and caused the severe third wave outbreak.
Airlines mobilising to support holidaymaker demand as they head for Phuket in the virus aftermath
News of the flights is coming from a variety of sources including Thai Airways which is mobilising flight services on European routes and Asia directly to Phuket to take advantage of the emerging opportunity which could kickstart Thailand’s currently dormant foreign tourism industry.
From July 1st, Thai Airlines which is still before the Central Bankruptcy Court despite approval by creditors of its rehabilitation plan, because of some creditor objections, is planning direct flights to Phuket International Airport from London, Paris, Frankfurt and Copenhagen.
The airline is also planning to operate regular flights from Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo into Phuket.
It will be joined by Qatar Airways which will fly weekly flights from Stockholm, Oslo, Paris, Warsaw and Vienna, all from July 1st. These flights will be run in cooperation with British Airways which has operated a bilateral partnership with the Middle East based airline since 2018.
Even more significantly, Qatar and British Airways will also fly direct to Phuket three times a day from Doha with connecting feeder flights from London.
Return of Phuket and Thailand as a world-class tourist destination offering security from the virus
Emirates will also fly a daily flight into Phuket International Airport from Dubai which, like London, is a key transit point for travellers coming from all over the world while the Israeli airline El Al will also fly in a weekly flight from Tel Aviv to the holiday island off Thailand’s coast in the Andaman Sea.
Phuket will now offer foreign tourists significant security from the deadly virus as well as all the other attractions which saw it become one of the most popular destinations for tourists anywhere in the world when it notched up 9.89 million visitors in 2019 and ranked number fourteen on a prestigious Mastercard list which saw Bangkok at Number One surpassing both Paris and London, making the Thai capital the single most visited place on earth.
Singapore Airlines is already flying into Phuket several times each week, at this time.
Travel agencies putting Phuket on the open list including European countries such as Switzerland
The Phuket reopening is making news throughout the travel industry worldwide with many European and American tourists still searching for an opportunity to holiday in Thailand.
This week, it also emerged that a Swiss-based travel agency, Thailand Reisen Reber, is promoting a Saturday afternoon flight to Phuket from Zurich.
The flight will be operated by Thai Airways using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with a capacity to fly 256 passengers, 22 of them in the Thai Airlines’ Royal Silk class with the rest in economy.
Prices being quoted by the agency are under ฿28,000 or CHF 790.
Bangkok and Pattaya to follow suit on October 1st
The reopening of Phuket to direct flights comes as the government is now determined to also reopen nine other areas by October 1st to less restrictive international tourism including Bangkok and Pattaya.
The tourist authority is also highlighting that both Krabi and the Khao Lak area of Phang Nga Province will also be reopening to international tourism a month later on August 1st.
Although visitors will not be subject to quarantine, they must satisfy the Certificate of Entry requirements. Travellers will also be subject to public health safety measures after they arrive in Phuket.
Phuket already sees tighter security and screening of visitors entering the island from the mainland
Firstly, they will be restricted to travel within the island which has already seen a tightening of security and screening of travellers coming in from the Thai mainland to protect the area’s hard-earned herd immunity status which it is expected to have confirmed by July 1st.
However, after 7 days, the foreign tourists may travel throughout Thailand.
After 5 days, they will be required to take a new Covid-19 test at their own expense which, if negative, will also see them being allowed to visit Phi Phi Island, Koh Yao Island and other areas in Phang Nga for day trips.
Visitors must use the Thai travel smartphone app
There are also restrictions on the hotels that can be booked and tourism services on the island which are available to tourists must be approved by the Thailand Safety & Health Administration.
The excitedly anticipated foreign arrivals on Phuket will also be required to install the ‘Thailand Plus’ app on their smartphones so that they can be tracked by officials determined to preserve the island as a haven from the virus at this time.