Samui Plus Starts Welcoming Foreign Arrivals

Samui Plus Starts Welcoming Foreign Arrivals
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Thailand’s reopening enters the second phase with the launch of Samui Plus.

Koh Samui, Thailand’s second-largest island, and the neighbouring islands Koh Phangan and Koh Tao have opened to vaccinated international travellers without quarantine in the new Samui Plus tourism scheme intended to kick-start the islands’ tourism industry, which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Samui Plus model represents months of planning and close cooperation between the key tourism bodies of Thailand, the Thailand Association of Tourism (TAT), Thailand Hotels Association (THA), Tourism Association of Koh Samui (TAKS), government and private sector.

  • Samui Plus model – At a glance, this is how it works for vaccinated international visitors: Travellers must travel from an approved country, and they must have been in that country for no fewer than 21 consecutive days. Before travelling to Thailand, they must show:
  • A Certificate of Entry (COE).
  • A negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before travel date.
  • Adult arrivals must be fully vaccinated by an approved COVID-19 vaccine no fewer than 14 days before travel date.
  • Travellers under 18 do not require proof of vaccination, but must travel with fully vaccinated parents or guardians and show negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test.
  • Insurance policy covering COVID-19 expenses of at least USD100,000.
  • Arrival is via Bangkok’s Internationl Airport Suvarnabhumi and transfer to direct Bangkok Airways terminal for direct flight to Koh Samui via sealed transit route.  
  • Must stay exclusively at an ALQ approved hotel for the first 7 nights of their stay.
  • May stay at an SHA+ Plus approved hotel or private villa  in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao for the next seven nights of their stay on Koh Samui. 
  • All airline and hotel bookings must be pre-booked and pre-paid and include payment for the mandatory 3 x RT-PCR COVID-19 tests.   
  • Must be tested with RT-PCR COVID-19 test on the following days of their visit:  

Day 0 – 1st RT-PCR test on arrival at the hotel, and wait for the result.  

Day 1-3  – If the result is negative, tourists are free to enjoy their hotel facilities.

Day 4-7 – The ‘Sealed Route’ and tourists free to enjoy 3 pre-determined designated routes: A natural attraction; Wellness Spa or Diving.

Day 6 or 7 – 2nd RT-PCR test at the hotel.

Day 814 – If negative, tourists are free to travel around Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao and stay in SHA+ Plus approved hotels. 

Day 12 or 13 – 3rd RT-PCR rest will be conducted at the hospital.  If negative, tourists are free to travel domestically within Thailand.

  • Must download and install alert applications.

See link for complete rules https://www.tatnews.org and attached list of eligible countries and chart showing the customer journey, which applies to Thai and non-Thai nationals alike.

Domestic travellers also enjoy access to Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao provided that they comply with the following conditions, which apply to local Thais as well as non-Thai visitors:

  • Fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine no fewer than 14 days before travel.
  • A negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before travel date.
  • Recovered from COVID-19 for at least 14 days.

Meanwhile, visitors to Koh Samui can expect a much-improved island following the local authority’s investment in upgraded infrastructure, public utilities, transportation, and safety measures.

Commenting on the reopening of Koh Samui to international tourism, James McManaman, President of SKÅL International Koh Samui said, “We are absolutely delighted that this day has come, we’ve been watching the Phuket Sandbox scheme which launched on July 1st very and firmly believe that the Samui Plus model, which is different to Phuket, has the all the elements in place to make it a success.  Obviously, this is a work in progress but it’s a great start to get our beautiful island back on track towards the recovery of its much-needed tourism.” 


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