Thailand is allowing tourists to spend their mandatory two-week quarantine on a yacht, in a bid to boost tourism to the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This move comes after the country announced an initiative at the start of the year to allow visitors to spend the quarantine period at a government-approved golf resort. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the first group of tourists completed their 14-day quarantine last week, and have now begun to travel across the country.
The yacht programme was announced at the start of this week by the government’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), which is working in partnership with telecom group Advanced Info Service (AIS) and the Thai Yacht Business Association. The ‘Digital Yacht Quarantine’ initiative stipulates that tourists will be able to spend the quarantine on a yacht or small cruise ship in Phuket provided that they show proof of a negative coronavirus test.
Participants will be required to wear a smart wristband, which can transmit information even at sea within a 10km radius. The device will monitor health data such as temperature and blood pressure, and also track the wearer’s location via GPS.
The government hopes that the initiative will generate 1.8 billion baht (£42 million) in revenue, with 300-500 tourists expected to take part. According to Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, president of Depa, Phuket lost over 320 billion baht in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
Thailand banned international tourists in March 2020 but has gradually reopened its borders, relaxing travel restrictions for citizens from 56 countries in December.