Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday formally approved plans to re-open the country to foreign tourists.
The planned gradual re-opening will see quarantine reduced for fully vaccinated tourists to Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, Phang Na, Koh Samui and Phuket from as early as next month.
Tourists who intend to visit the aforementioned destinations will still have to undergo quarantine but only for 7 days rather than the 14 days mandatory quarantine needed previously.
From 1 July, vaccinated tourists will be able to visit Phuket without the need to quarantine.
If the scheme in Phuket proves successful, quarantine will be scrapped in other popular tourist destinations throughout Thailand, namely Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, Phang Na and Koh Samui from 1 October.
Thailand then plans to lift all quarantine requirements for foreign tourists next year.
The Thai government now faces a race against time as it aims to vaccinate some 70 percent of Phuket’s population ahead of the return of foreign tourists.
On Tuesday, Phuket Governor said he hopes that as many as 50,000 people will receive the first dose of the vaccine within seven days of it arriving on the island in April.
The news comes as Thailand will reduce quarantine for anyone arriving from overseas.
From 1 April, quarantine will be cut from 14 to 10 days for all arrivals, with the exception of visitors from some African countries.