- Thailand is now allowing visitors to complete their quarantines aboard yachts.
- The new program is meant to bolster its ailing tourism industry.
- The country previously announced it would allow travelers to complete quarantines at golf resorts.
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If you happen to have a yacht, you’re in luck: Tourists who can afford the high life are welcome to use their yachts to quarantine off the coast of Thailand, the Thai government announced on Tuesday.
A pilot yacht quarantine program was originally announced in November but has now been launched more widely. It currently applies to the Thai tourist haven of Phuket, which has long been a destination for its pristine beaches and party atmosphere.
Yacht tourists previously had to spend 14 days aboard their yachts in quarantine before spending 14 days in a hotel, the Phuket News reported.
The new program is much simpler: Yachters must show proof of a negative PCR test and agree to have their health and location monitored in order to participate in the quarantine program. Members of the Royal Thai Navy based in Cape Panwa will monitor and track the boats.
Once visitors have completed their 14-day quarantine aboard a vessel, they’ll be allowed to moor at a dock in Phuket and travel around the island.
Around 100 yachts are expected to participate in the trial run, according to the BBC.
Thailand hopes the program will bring more visitors back to the country, where tourism accounts for around 20% of the country’s GDP, Nikkei Asia reported. In 2019, around 40 million people traveled to Thailand and the tourism industry brought more than $US62 ($80) billion into the economy.
Tourism slowed to a trickle in March 2020 after the government declared a state of emergency over COVID-19 and banned international travelers. More than one million people have lost their jobs since.
In recent weeks, Thailand has been loosening its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing entertainment venues to reopen and gyms to operate as normal, the Bangkok Post reported.
In a bid to ramp up its ailing economy, the country also recently launched a golf quarantine program, which allows visitors to complete their two-week lockdown while staying at a golf resort. The first group of 41 golfers from South Korea just completed their quarantine.
“Think of 41 Koreans golfing as you roam around the course, served by over 100 employees. It’s like emperor’s golfing,” golfer Heo Kwang-eum told China News Daily.
Thailand saw very few COVID cases in-country until December when an outbreak among migrant workers drove numbers up.