Phuket has reopened to international tourism on Thursday (July 1) after over a year.
International travellers landing in Phuket
The first 25 international travellers have landed today (July 1) before noon on an Etihad Airways flight, AFP reported.
249 flight passengers are also expected to land on the island today. The flights will be from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Singapore.
According to travel search engine Skyscanner, there is a direct flight from Singapore to Phuket scheduled to depart from Changi Airport at 4:20pm on July 1.
Tourists are no longer required to undergo quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in their country for at least 14 days and test negative upon arrival, ABC News reported.
Tourists must also get a confirmation letter from hotels certified by the Thai government before boarding their flight. For stays less than 14 nights, they need to present a confirmed flight ticket out of the country.
Tourists are also required to take three Covid-19 tests in Phuket, upon arrival, one week later, and a final test nearing the end of the second week.
Struggling tourism economy
This quarantine-free scheme comes as Thailand struggles to contain its "worst-ever Covid-19 wave", AFP reported.
Phuket has been hard-hit by the pandemic, as their economy relies heavily on international tourists.
According to the Phuket Tourist Association, the number of international visitors in 2020 fell to 3.8 million, with a second wave of the outbreak decreasing numbers even further by about 93 per cent in 2021.
To prepare for Phuket’s reopening, the Thai government began funnelling vaccines to the island this year, according to The New York Times.
However, less than 45 per cent of people in Phuket have been fully vaccinated, health officials said.
Top photo via Shankar S./Flickr, Bradley Prentice/Unsplash