The Samui Plus tourism programme launched on Thursday to welcome fully vaccinated tourists to Samui, Tao and Phangan.
As part of Thailand’s effort to rescue its tourism sector, three more Thai islands opened to vaccinated travellers on Thursday (Jul 15).
The three islands – Samui, Tao and Phangan – opened to welcome visitors as part of the newly-launched Samui Plus tourism model, two weeks after the reopening of Phuket Sandbox.
Earlier this month, Thailand launched its Phuket Sandbox programme on Jul 1, welcoming visitors to Phuket after its borders were shut more than a year ago. Tourists are not required to undergo quarantine but cannot leave Phuket for 14 days.
Under Thursday’s expansion, travellers must stay at an approved hotel on Samui for a week before they are allowed to leave their accommodation on day four. A negative COVID-19 test is also required for them to enter Tao or Phangan after their first week.
This comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant in other parts of Thailand.
In addition, Bangkok and nine other provinces in Thailand have been placed under tighter restrictions. Night curfews have been enacted and gatherings of more than five people are also prohibited.
Thailand reported almost 9,200 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with a record daily high of 98 deaths.
The Thai island of Phuket has already attracted more than 5,000 foreign tourists since reopening, 10 of whom have tested positive for COVID-19.
Thai authorities are not anticipating an immediate influx of tourists to Samui and the other two islands.
Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Koh Samui Tourism Association, described the launch of Samui Plus as a soft opening.
Travellers returning to Singapore from Thailand will be required to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at designated SHN facilities.
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