Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry is planning to reopen five islands to foreign visitors by August. The five islands that have been zeroed in on to welcome tourists are Phuket, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan.

As the country is set to enter the fifth phase of easing lockdown, domestic tourism will likely gain pace this month. And reportedly, more destinations will be reopening in the near future for international visitors, based on how these five islands in Surat Thani, Krabi, and Phuket fare with domestic travellers this month.

An official in the know-how said that the criteria to allow foreign visitors enter the country and travel to said destinations is currently under discussion with the Public Health Ministry. He added that to start with, the number of tourists will be limited depending on each area’s capability to effectively screen visitors for COVID-19.

Thailand to reopen five islands to international tourists by August

Thailand has already started international flights from July 1, although not for leisure travel. It is also among the 15 countries that the European Union has reported to be a safe travel destination for its precautionary measures related to COVID-19 spread and low infection rate.

Reportedly, restaurants and hotels are now open, and bars and alcoholic sales are being allowed only till midnight. Further, exhibition centres, shopping malls, stores, massage and sauna establishments are also allowed to open, but can operate only till 10 PM.

Reportedly, Japan has been encountering a handful of COVID-19 cases, and overseas travel is permitted only for skilled workers, business travellers, visitors for medical treatment, except COVID-19 treatment, and relatives of Thai residents.

To deal with the situation, the Thai Government has introduced a new Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certificate, which recognises tourism businesses, including spas, hotels, and eateries that follow the COVID-19 guidelines of the government. As per earlier estimates, it was expected that nearly 40 million foreign tourists would likely visit Thailand this year, however, the number has now been capped at 8 million.

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