Almost two months after the Phuket Sandbox swung into action the Thai Government has approved the “7+7 Model” today which was first floated a few weeks ago but then got side tracked due to the status of the pandemic in Thailand.
Under the 7+7 scheme tourists would be able to travel between different destinations in Thailand for their first and second week of the 14 day monitoring period, for example one week Phuket and one week in Samui.
International Tourists visiting Thailand can travel on sealed routes (meaning direct flights / transfers only available to eligible travelers) between these destinations and complete their mixed monitoring period before being able to travel to other parts of the country if there are flights.
Keep in mind that Thailand as a whole is officially in a restrictive mode (semi lockdown as they call it) for most commercial and personal activities aside from necessary daily affairs such as supermarket shopping. However, I currently see pictures from friends back in Thailand who attend weddings and stay at resorts so from a distance (I’m back in Europe at the moment) I can’t say how seriously this is being taken there.
While not published yet on the official TAT News Channel, Richard Barrow has posted about the Press Conference (conducted in Thai) today and says this system would be in effect starting tomorrow.
This was a graphic used during the press event:
Under this model as displayed on the map tourists could – after finishing up their first week in Phuket use various methods of transport for example a bus to Khao Lak, ferries to various islands of a flight to Koh Samui.
Generally a good idea but I’m not sure if it’s really necessary to split a two week stay into different destinations especially with three Covid tests involved. I guess if you want to invest time and effort then sure do it. Otherwise I’d rather relax on one island and let the time pass.
A much bigger issue these days is the domestic transportation. Thai Smile for example just cancelled all flights for August they originally had on sale starting from August 18th. Keep in mind there haven’t been any regular passenger flights between Phuket and Bangkok for the last few weeks and the only way to get out is a 12 hour bus ride. Alternatively there is also a flight on NOK Air to U-Tapao Airport south of Pattaya at a price of ~ 6000 Baht.
The assessment council for the Covid Situation Administration has approved the 7+7 Model which will allow foreign tourists arriving in Phuket to then move to another destination under a sealed route network. The second week of the vacation could then take place there for example in Samui.
Moving to Samui would probably make sense as there are Bangkok Airways flights from Samui to Bangkok but none from Phuket to Bangkok. That’s the only advantage I can see from this system for those looking to move back to the mainland, specifically Bangkok. We should learn more about this as soon as the TAT is publishing their own marketing material of the model which should be easier to understand and be visually more attractive than what has been shown at the press conference today.