The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has confirmed that the island of Phuket has reopened to international travelers.
The move is seen as a first step to restarting tourism to Thailand.
Fully vaccinated travelers can stay quarantine-free as part of the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ model.
Re-opening details for the island of Koh Samui are due to be announced in the coming weeks.
Today saw the first international flight in over a year land at Phuket International Airport and a happy family were first to be welcomed by Thai officials.
British travelers are among some of the first flights landing today with many more set to travel later this month.
However, the country remains on the amber list for UK travelers, meaning quarantine will be required on return.
“We are so excited to welcome back travelers from the UK this summer.
“Phuket and Koh Samui are two of our iconic beach destinations, hugely popular with UK holidaymakers.
“We have been inundated with inquiries about Thailand’s reopening plans from keen tourists excited to visit our beautiful beaches, enjoy Thai culture and get their authentic Thai food fix,” said Chiravadee Khunsub, director of TAT London.
She added: “It’s been a challenging 18 months for us all and people are ready to escape and enjoy a change of scenery and a special trip with friends and family.
“Phuket and Koh Samui reopen with even more beautiful and pristine nature; it’s the best time to visit and witness nature as it was 30 years ago.
“The islands are so much more than just a tropical beach holiday, they each have their unique local communities, cuisine, temples, island hopping adventures, breath-taking views, and are globally recognized as a wellness sanctuary.”
Thailand’s reopening strategy will continue to roll out from July, with Koh Samui next and, in August, tourist favorites such as Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Khao Lak, and Koh Yao will start to welcome visitors again.
From September, further destinations and routes will start to welcome travelers including Chiang Mai in the north and Pattaya on the east coast.
From October onwards, Thailand aims to open Bangkok and nearby Hua Hin and Cha-Am.
The gradual reopening of the 76 provinces will align with the national vaccination program, ensuring locals have been inoculated.
Thailand’s Maya Bay beach made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio film closed until 2021