The ultimate Sandbox question: who is actually coming to Thailand?

The hope is that the Sandbox, by abolishing quarantine for fully-vaccinated tourists, will end the nightmare of empty Thai streets.

Everyone hopes that the Sandbox initiatives are successful. But the latest travel advice and regulations from the obvious source countries for Thai tourism are far from positive and can change suddenly. It should be noted that all countries require their residents to take various PCR-Covid tests before and after the return flight. The countries listed here provided over 90 percent of all international holiday visits to Thailand in 2019.

China. No travel bubbles or charter flights are allowed from China at the present time. Chinese individuals are not banned from visiting Thailand, but must undergo quarantine of between 14 and 21 days on their return. They may also face domestic travel bans or delays.

India. Not applicable. Thailand has graded India as a country with high infections and not eligible for entry under the Sandbox.

Japan. Not applicable. Thailand has graded Japan as a country with high infections and not eligible for entry under the Sandbox.

Russia. Russian authorities are not artificially restricting travel abroad, including Thailand, but the Federal Tourism Agency is warning that air and land borders are not open and that no guarantees of return entry can be given to anyone, including Russians.

UK. The British government “heavily discourages” travel to Thailand and currently insists on self-quarantine on return with the specific time dependent on testing and vaccination. UK authorities are warning that if Thailand became “red” rather than “orange” under the traffic lights grading system, compulsory quarantine in a hotel at a cost of 1,750 pounds would be required.

European tourists are desperate for a get-away, but where are they going?

US. The State Department “actively discourages” international travel for unvaccinated Americans and suggests even vaccinated individuals should avoid visiting Thailand because of rising infections. On return, home quarantine (7-10 days) is required for unvaccinated travellers, or for those whose post-return test is positive.

EU. Although the detail varies a little from country to country, the EU recommends that no holiday trips be undertaken, especially beyond Europe. Most countries do not insist on strictly monitored quarantining for returning nationals unless there is a positive PCR test.

Singapore. The Singapore government recommends no holiday travel be taken in the region, including Thailand, and has a system for returnees known as SHN (Stay at Home) or SDF (Stay at Dedicated Facility) which is dependent on recent travel history.

South Korea. The Seoul authorities are discouraging vacation travel abroad and are urging 14 days self-isolation on return.

Norway. The Oslo government has more or less outlawed non-essential foreign travel (outside Scandinavia) until August 10 at least. Returning Norwegians must quarantine in a hotel until they have a negative PCR test.

South Africa and Ukraine. Not applicable. Thailand has graded both countries as having high infections and not eligible for entry under the Sandbox.