Foreign tourists at Phuket international airport in November 2020 (File photo: AFP/VNA)
The Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, recently approved a proposal to inoculate at least 70 percent of the island’s population by July 1 in order to reopen tourism for vaccinated holidaymakers.
Minister of Tourism and Sport of Thailand Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said tourists travelling to Phuket will be required to receive two shots of COVID-19 vaccine under the so-called "Phuket Tourism Sandbox" programme, which is touted as a model for the reopening of the country’s tourism industry.
Thailand's tourism industry has been seriously affected by COVID-19. Last year, foreign visitor numbers plunged 83 percent from nearly 40 million in 2019 to just 6.7 million. The state planning agency predicts 3 million arrivals this year.
The WB on March 26 forecast a 3.4 percent growth for Thailand this year, down from the previous projection of 4 percent. However, the Thai Government aims for a 4 percent growth in 2021 and 2022 as well.