Pity the poor arriving travellers in Canada, quarantining in overpriced, anonymous airport hotels where their only view is the dingy greys of fading winter in the industrial areas surrounding Canada’s four largest airports.
Thailand has come up with a better solution to quarantining its arrivals – one where necessity intersects with an Instagram-worthy, dream vacation lifestyle.
Visitors to the South-East Asian country can now quarantine for their mandatory two weeks on a yacht.
That’s right. Travellers are forced to spend 14 days yachting on the beautiful blue seas off the coast of Thailand. Would business travellers get hardship pay for that?
Thailand’s economy relies heavily on tourism, but the pandemic has shrunk arrivals from north of 50,000 per day to just hundreds. Initially banned entirely, foreign visitation has been gradually re-opening since the fall.
The yacht quarantine program is not the first initiative to take the sting out of quarantine restrictions in an effort to kick-start a tourism revival. In January, Thailand’s ministry of tourism announced a plan that would allow visitors to spend their quarantine time swinging at balls on a golf course.
The new yacht quarantine initiative ups the ante as it taps into the country’s famous seaside lifestyle, at the same time generating an expected nearly USD $60 million in yacht tourism revenue.
Visitors with a negative COVID test result will be permitted to spend their two-week quarantine on a yacht or small ship off the legendary island of Phuket. They’ll have to wear a smart wristband that captures vital signs like temperature as well as GPS location. It can transmit the information even at sea, up to a 10 km radius, officials say.
Up to a hundred yachts are expected to be approved for and participate in the program.
Thai tourism officials aren’t done yet with making your quarantine seem like the best, exotic tropical vacation you’ve ever had.
Also in the works: a program that will allow visitors to quarantine in hotels and resorts in Chiang Mai and even beach destinations like Phuket and Krabi.