East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Phuket is open; please may I have an exemption sir?

The Thai resort island of Phuket this week threw open its doors to post-Covid tourism. 

All Australians need is an exemption from Scotty from Marketing and his team of sloganeers and they, too, can be frolicking on the beach at Kata or enjoying a cold one or two in Patong. 

Apparently you can get an exemption and leave Australia if you say you need to do so for business, or know someone who knows someone who has Scotty's ear. 

The rules currently say exemptions can only be approved if you meet the guidelines for a discretionary exemption (largely business or medical reasons), or meet another exempt category. Which apparently includes being the girlfriend of a tennis player competing at Wimbledon. 

For the rest of us we'll have to wait a while longer. 

Israeli tourists were among the first to land as Phuket's scheme allows vaccinated travellers to enter while Covid cases remain high across other parts of Thailand. 

The plan will serve as a template for other holiday destinations lining up to reopen, including Chiang Mai and Koh Samui.

Travellers will have freedom of Phuket but must stay on the island for at least 14 days. Tourists in Phuket will be subject to several Covid tests and must use a tracking app.

"Yes you're being quarantined here but this is more than 500 square kilometres of quarantine and you've got national parks, golf courses, you can go diving - it's really not a quarantine," said Anthony Lark, president of the Phuket Hotels Association.

Thai authorities said they will be closely monitoring the Covid situation in Phuket and said they will not hesitate to restrict movements if cases start to rise. 

About 70% of Phuket residents have received at least one vaccine dose, which puts Australia's figures to shame.

And after your trip there is always the issue of geting back home. But the Slogan Bogan and his team will have that under control. We hope. 

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