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Tourists Now Playing in Phuket’s New Sandbox

Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand ~ Kokomo, The Beach Boys

As international ambassadors of all things sand, sun, and sea, Beach Boys music can be heard anywhere the sand meets the sea. Unfortunately, for most travellers, exotic foreign beaches have been off limits for over a year.


Anyone who has been fully vaccinated may now fly to Phuket. There are naturally procedures to follow, which can be found here and here.

The most important things to note, in addition to the vaccination requirements, are that you may only book an approved hotel, and you must stay there for 24 hours pending a negative result from a Covid test. Once you have that negative test, you are free to enjoy a holiday on the island, and if you wish to travel elsewhere in Thailand, this is possible after 14 days. (Travellers visiting Phuket from within Thailand must either have their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, be otherwise fully vaccinated, or have a negative Covid-19 test within seven days of traveling to Phuket.)

If all goes well, by mid-July, the Sandbox model is expected to be duplicated in Surat Thani province with the “Samui Plus Model”, which will permit travel between the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan. Regular Covid testing throughout the stay is mandatory, and as with Phuket Sandbox, visitors would be free to travel to the rest of Thailand after two weeks.

All of this is being carried out in anticipation of a “Grand Reopening” of the entire country on October 14th, when vaccinated tourists will be able to fly to Bangkok without quarantine.

How Will This Impact the Property Sector?

Phuket has survived without tourists for nearly a year and a half, and businesses here are ecstatic that the government has extended an open invitation to people who have been cooped up in their homes on the other side of the world, and who are now vaccinated and eager to travel.

If these Sandboxes are successful in bringing tourists back to Phuket without leading to a serious rise in Covid cases, the full re-opening of Thailand in October would be just in time for the peak holiday season. No one expects the numbers to be at pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, but the authorities do expect an impressive 30-40% capacity at the hotels by the end of this year. This will undoubtedly be a boon to the Phuket property market.

As more countries reach herd immunity and travel restrictions (i.e. quarantines when returning home) gradually disappear, the pent up demand for vacations will increase. And ease of travel for those wishing to retire in Phuket or buy a home here will almost certainly inject even more life into the local economy. This is especially true of anyone who spends October to March dealing with rain and snow (or worse) at home.

Over the last 16 months we have seen a surprising number of buyers purchasing remotely or enduring the two-week quarantine just to come and purchase their dream home. Currently, many Asian countries still maintain strict quarantines for any returning travellers – vaccinated or not. So it stands to reason that any relaxation of these rules would also bring many Asian buyers back to the island.

Given the close proximity, both tourists and property owners from other Asian countries often visit Phuket more than once each year, making it a very important demographic for the island. If the Sandbox model can create a safe “travel bubble” for vaccinated tourists from China, Malaysia, Korea, or Singapore – one free of restrictive quarantines – this would be a massive shot in the arm for the Phuket property market.

by Thai Residential Phuket Property Guide

This article is from the Thai Residential Phuket Property Guide.
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Thai Residential
82/37 Sam Pao Courtyard
Moo 4, Patak Road
T.Rawai, Phuket 83130
+66 94 8411 918
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