Over 3,000 international tourists have visited other designated tourist areas beyond Phuket in Thailand since a new program took effect on Aug. 16, Thailand’s Center for Economic Situation Administration said Tuesday.

The “Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension” program reduces the mandatory stay in Phuket for fully vaccinated international travelers from 14 to 7 days, after which another seven days can be spent in alternative tourism hotspots in Krabi, Phang-Nga or Surat Thani.

Image: Shutterstock

“The program signifies the progress of Thailand’s plan to gradually reopen to fully vaccinated international travelers.” said Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

More destinations will be added to the list, once the preparation of appropriate measures on health and safety are fully in place, he added.

FILE PHOTO: A vendor wearing a face mask walks on Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand, on Aug. 19, 2021. Image: Xinhua

So far, there have been a total of 24,190 tourists visiting the country under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, which was launched on July 1, allowing vaccinated foreign tourists from low-and-medium-risk countries to visit the island without undergoing a two-week quarantine.

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks on a skywalk in Bangkok, Thailand, on Aug. 20, 2021. Image: Xinhua

The primary countries of origin of these travelers are the United States, Britain, Israel, France and Germany.

Tourism is regarded as a key driver for the Thai economy. The country attempts to restore the sector and prepare for a nationwide reopening for vaccinated foreign visitors by mid-October.

XINHUA | BANGKOK

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