Thailand allowing tourists to quarantine on yachts in bid to revive Phuket tourism

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If you have to quarantine, you might as well quarantine in style.

Thailand’s government is testing a program that would allow tourists to complete their mandatory quarantine periods on yachts off the coast of Phuket. Previous guidance stipulated that visitors remain on their yachts for 14 days before completing an additional 14-day quarantine on land — at their own expense — before exploring Phuket Island.

During that time, tourists will be allowed off their boats to swim but may not visit the shore, reports Phuket News.

The new guidelines are aimed at helping the country’s tourism industry recover following a drastic drop in tourism, and even a brief ban on all visitors, amid the global pandemic. Phuket alone lost an estimated $10 billion in tourism revenue over the last 12 months, the Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand’s new test program has already accepted 100 yachts for its trial run, which is expected to bring up to 500 tourists, according to the Bangkok Post.

Those taking part in the test will also be required to wear smart wristbands to transmit data from up to 10 kilometers offshore, including information about their temperature and blood pressure. The Royal Thai Navy will also be monitoring the ships and visitors from a base in Cape Panwa, according to Business Insider.

Cruising yachts anchored off the Royal Meridien Phuket Yacht Club Nai Han Bay Phuket Thailand. (Andrew Woodley/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

News of Thailand’s new yacht guidelines comes amid the country’s relaxed regulations for foreign visitors. As of April, tourists to Thailand will only be required to quarantine for 10 days after providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure from their home country, per Reuters.

Visitors with proof of vaccination, meanwhile, will only need to quarantine for seven days after providing documentation of negative COVID-19 tests taken within three days of departure.