Thailand launches a ‘yacht quarantine’ plan to boost tourismAndrea Smith

If spending your COVID-19 quarantine period on a yacht seems like an appealing option, Thailand is offering visitors the option. Those who choose to avail of the option must show proof of a negative PCR test and have their health and location monitored.

Following on from a pilot scheme originally announced in November, around 100 yachts are now expected to take part in the program, which is currently taking place in Phuket. Travelers are required to wear a smart wristband that monitors their location and vital signs, including temperature and blood pressure. The watch can transmit information at sea, within a 10km radius.

A beach in Thailand with boats
Around 100 yachts are now expected to take part in the program © carlos castilla/Shutterstock

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) is working on the program with mobile operator Advanced Info Service, tourism operators in Phuket and a local tech startup. Members of the Royal Thai Navy will monitor and track the boats, and when the visitors complete their 14-day quarantine, they’ll be permitted to moor at a dock in Phuket and enter the island.

Thailand heavily relies on tourism and Phuket lost revenue of over 320 billion baht ($10.407m) in 2020 due to the pandemic. This is because visitors were not allowed to enter the island to prevent the virus spreading. Thailand hopes that the initiative will help bring 1.8 billion baht ($58m) in revenue to the country, which has slowly been opening its borders since October. More Thai-language information can be found here

Introducing Thailand

The country’s tourism minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, is also proposing a plan for travelers to undertake their mandatory 14-day quarantine period quarantine in popular tourist areas, including beach resorts. The proposal will allow them to leave their hotel rooms after the first three days, but they must not leave their hotel for 11 more days. The plan is expected to start in April or May in popular provinces including Phuket, Krabi and Chiang Mai.

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