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Travellers Returning To Thailand Could Be Rewarded With Free Domestic Flights To Boost Tourism

Travellers Returning To Thailand Could Be Rewarded With Free Domestic Flights To Boost Tourism

I know that we can’t really believe international travel is back until it’s, well, officially back. With the vaccine rollout and constant buzz though, I can’t help but start planning future trips though. We’re all travellers here, you get it.

The theoretical possibilities are endless, but a new initiative being discussed by Thailand‘s Tourism Ministry is making it a strong contender for my ‘first flight’ list.

From July, vaccinated tourists will be welcomed back into the country, invited to stay in designated cities, quarantine free. Phuket is the first destination in this ‘sandbox’ initiative — as long as you’ve had the vaccine, of course.

However, a little cherry on top is that travellers could be ‘tempted to extend their stay after spending 10 days in Phuket if we can provide them free or discounted air tickets to other provinces,” Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told Travel Mole.

“We may offer free or discounted tickets, but we have to ensure tourists are confident to travel,” he said.

A key condition of this initiative was that 95 percent of Phuket residents are completely vaccinated first, to also guarantee the safety of locals. Travellers will also have to track their movements in a government-managed app, which we should all be used to by now.

The government is hoping this initiative will bring in about 100,000 tourists in the first three months of opening Thailand, getting that sweet sweet international tourism before other countries also open up.

Frankly, where better to spend 10 days than the white sand beaches of Phuket? Then get free domestic flights to the rest of Thailand? Fingers crossed, folks.

For now, flying directly into any other part (even in July) will mean tourists need to complete a proper quarantine. However, other popular tourist spots Krabi, Samui, Pattaya, Phangnga and Chiang Mai are all expected to join the sandbox scheme at the end of the year.

Between these five places and Phuket, they make up around 80 percent of Thailand’s tourism revenue, so you can see why they’ve been chosen.

(Lead image: Unsplash / Mike Swigunski)

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