Adult domestic travelers flying to Phuket from various domestic destinations in Thailand will no longer have to produce a Covid test result starting October 16, 2021 provided they’re fully vaccinated.
Previously arrivals had to provide a costly and inconvenient documented test result in order to visit the islands but this has now been scaled back in an effort to stimulate domestic tourism again.
This in combination with the Phuket Sandbox and Samui+ is currently serving as a precursor before wider measures to open up the country as a whole from November 1, 2021 as I previously reported two days ago.
Phuket, Samui and the other regions of Thailand that rely heavily on tourism have suffered greatly from the pandemic that somehow passed by the country as a whole until spring of this year. Sice then Thailand has seen 1.75 million Covid cases and strict measures were put in place that controlled exit to the islands.
Regulations of how to access Phuket and Samui for example changed several times throughout this year. From nothing at all to just downloading an app, testing upon arrival, testing prior to departure, required vaccine + test and now only vaccine without test we have seen pretty much everything.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has just announced the new regulation would come into effect starting October 16, 2021:
— TAT Newsroom (@Tatnews_Org) October 13, 2021
Their website is currently down and the link they provided therefore doesn’t work at the moment but this is the official press release:
New Domestic Travel Screening [Effective Oct 16th]
All domestic arrivals from then will no longer need to show a negative COVID-19 test as long as they are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival with 2 doses of the Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, or Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, or 2 doses of different vaccines as approved by the Ministry of Public Health, or 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This also applies for those under 18 years who have received 1 dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least 14 days, as well as those who have recovered from COVID-19 for less than 90 days.
Arrivals can also choose to show a negative COVID-19 test by an RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test no more than 7 days from the test date.
Children aged not older than 6 years travelling with parents or guardians, and patients and medical personnel in medical emergency vehicles are exempt from the above requirement.
Children aged 7-12 years must have a negative COVID-19 test by an RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test no more than 7 days from the test date.
Current Domestic Travel Screening
Domestic travellers who need to enter Phuket before 16 October, 2021, must follow the rules and requirements as announced in the Phuket Provincial Order No. 5745/2564, which requires all domestic arrivals to be vaccinated at least 14 days with 2 doses of the Sinovac, Sinopharm, or Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, or the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine as the first dose and AstraZeneca as the second dose, or 1 dose of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or have recovered from COVID-19 for less than 6 months. All arrivals are required to show a negative test by an RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test no more than 7 days from the test date.
According to this notice unvaccinated travelers still have the option of presenting the negative test result in order to travel to Phuket.
When traveling with children this becomes more complicated. Kids up to 6 years of age are exempt from testing but children aged 7-12 years must have a negative COVID-19 test just like non-vaccinated adults do.
First there was a discussion and some media reports that this would also apply to Koh Samui but there hasn’t been any announcement so far that would confirm this. We shall wait and see if something is in the pipeline regarding Samui as well.
Starting October 16, 2021 adults flying to Phuket no longer have to present a lab certified negative Covid test result provided they’re fully vaccinated. Families with children might still be subject to testing at least for the kids if they are between 7-12 years old (or older if unvaccinated, you can’t get a vaccine for children under 13 years of age in Thailand).
This will definitely push tourism on the island again, it was super quiet over the last few months, even more so than in January when I was there. Now with the alcohol ban lifted and certain entertainment venues open again Phuket is in warmup mode especially as the Sandbox project has pumped more international arrivals into the island. Let’s see what will happen beyond November 1st.