Pata welcomes news of Phuket reopening plan for tourists

The UK and Ireland chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association has hailed news from Thailand that the island resort of Phuket will welcome overseas tourists this summer.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand said Phuket will be the first destination in the country to welcome international travellers and from October, five further tourist areas will ease restrictions.

From July 1, the quarantine period will be removed entirely for Phuket and, in the meantime, residents of the island are being prioritised to receive the vaccine. It is hoped that 70% of the population of Phuket will be vaccinated before tourism resumes.

From October, Krabi, Phangnga, Koh Samui, Chonburi (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai will also be quarantine-free for vaccinated travellers.

Chris Crampton, chairman of Pata UK and Ireland, said: “The reopening of Phuket first, one of Thailand’s most popular destinations for international visitors, comes as very welcome news.

“This is a great step forward and highlights it’s now a matter of when and how the tourism industry will return rather than if, and this is progress and gives cause for optimism.

“A handful of other countries in the Asia Pacific region are now in the early stages of reopening their borders for tourism which is also encouraging. The future is brighter, and we will get there.”

Chiravadee Khunsub, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) London, said: “Phuket has been Covid-19 free for 90 days so it is a safe choice for UK travellers looking to get away this summer.

“From October, five further popular destinations will reopen ahead of our peak season, ready to welcome winter sun travellers. Today’s announcement is very positive news as Thailand makes careful and considered steps to reopening tourism to international markets.

“We know there is huge pent-up demand for travel to Thailand from the UK; our tour operator partners have reported an increase in enquiries already this year but they haven’t converted to sales whilst the borders have been closed. We are working closely with our airline partners to reinstate airlift from London as soon as possible. As airlines resume service to Thailand, itineraries will be shaped by route availability.”

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