DestinationsThe Kingdom expands Sandbox scheme to Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Surat Thani, and from April, a US$9 entry per foreign traveller.

Welcome to 3 more Thai destinations, don't forget your tourist fee too

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More fun in the sun as Thailand opens three popular beach resorts, in hopes to take the pressure off of Phuket, which remained open under its Sandbox programme. Pictured: Lao Lading island in Krabi.
More fun in the sun as Thailand opens three popular beach resorts, in hopes to take the pressure off of Phuket, which remained open under its Sandbox programme. Pictured: Lao Lading island in Krabi. Photo Credit: Getty Images/tawatchaiprakobkit

To tackle a fifth Covid wave while balancing the tourism dollar, Thailand has suspended its Test & Go no-quarantine scheme indefinitely, but opened three more regions to foreign tourists starting 11 January 2022.

According to Public Health Ministry officials, most new Omicron infections have come from travellers entering under the Test & Go scheme — which started in November 2021, but suspended on 22 December. It has welcomed some 350,000 tourists as of 11 January 2022.

Only Phuket remained open under the Sandbox programme.

The three newest regions to reopen are prominent beach resort favourites Krabi, Phang Nga, and Koh Samui (only Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao), joining Phuket to welcome international travellers who are free to travel anywhere in the Kingdom — after first finishing their mandatory 7-day stay in one of the Blue Zone Sandbox destinations.

Travellers must also take note of a list of pre-arrival requirements, including but not limited to: a Thailand Pass which can be applied free of charge here, a RT-PCR lab test indicating a negative result 72-hours before flight, a minimum of a US$50,000 insurance policy, fully vaccinated status, pre-payment for hotel accommodation or quarantine, and two mandatory RT-PCR tests.

And the pre-payment list continues.

Starting April, Thailand is planning to collect a 300-baht (US$9) entry fee from foreign travellers, which would go towards developing local attractions and accident insurance cover for those unable to pay their own costs.

"Part of the fee will be used to take care of tourists. We've encountered times when insurance didn't have coverage for tourists ... which became our burden to take care of them," said Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn to Reuters on 12 January.

The new fee will be factored in with flight tickets.

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