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Thailand welcomes first 'golf quarantiners'

Looking for a way out - Thailand is hoping golf quarantine will prove attractive to tourists (picture courtesy Unsplash).

Thailand has welcomed its first ‘golf quarantiners' as it looks to attract back international tourists.

Thailand has approved the isolation of foreign tourists in so-called ‘golf quarantine’ at six approved golf resorts in the country.

The first group of visitors to take advantage of the initiative arrived from South Korea and will be staying in one of the approved properties. Following a negative Covid-19 test result on day five, they will be permitted to move around the resort and play golf rather than isolating in their rooms.

And around 70 tourists travelling in a ‘bubble’ entered Thailand on February 21 and became the first international arrivals to make use of Thailand’s ‘villa quarantine’ option. Travelling from Indonesia, they went straight into quarantine at Sri Panwa Hotel in Phuket.

The group, originally from a variety of locations including Brazil, Canada, France, Denmark, Ukraine and the US, flew into Phuket together on a chartered plane. How they met or why they are travelling together has not been made clear.

They will be expected to stay in their rooms for the first five days of their 14-day quarantine and, like the golf quarantiners, if they test negative on day five they will be allowed to leave their rooms and use the resort facilities.

According to Thai authorities, if this villa quarantine pilot proves successful it will be expanded to the rest of the country.

Thailand shut its borders in March 2020 and there have been various attempts to reopen to foreign tourists, including a special long-stay visa scheme launched last October. However, it received a muted response as guests were still expected to undergo the country’s 14-day mandatory hotel room quarantine on arrival.

The island of Phuket announced last month that it will be attempting to vaccinate its residents privately with a view to opening the island up this autumn and catching the valuable winter tourist trade.

Visitors to Thailand must currently test on arrival in the country, on day five or seven and on day 13 or 14. A Covid-19 test must also be taken within 72 hours of departure and travellers must also hold a certificate of entry to Thailand and a 'Fit to Fly' health certificate.

The approved golf resorts for those wanting to take advantage of the scheme are Mida Golf Club in Kanchanaburi, Evergreen Hills Golf Club & Resort in Kanchanaburi, Blue Star Golf Course in Kanchanaburi, Artitaya Golf Club & Resort in Nakhon Nayok, Sawang Resort & Golf Club in Petchaburi and Artitaya Golf Club & Resort in Chiang Mai.

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