boats in the water with mountains in the background with Phi Phi Islands in the background

Welcome to Thailand, where you can go here – but not there.

Countries in every far reaching corner of the globe are weeding through proposals on how to safely reopen travel, and reboot the vital economies tourism brings. In Thailand, the early thinking is to create tourist corridors, where a buffer would exist between locals and visitors. It’s odd, but it could create just what the country needs to open to outsiders, particularly in island resort areas.

For countries which fared relatively well in the battle against covid-19, the greatest challenge in opening up borders is protecting the sacrifices made, and the health and safety of locals going forward. One way to do that? Put all the tourists onto islands, creating a literal sea buffer between them and the general population.

This is precisely what Thailand is looking to do. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Thailand’s Tourism Authority, told CNN, when speaking of the potential plan…

“This will be beneficial for both tourists and local residents, since this is almost a kind of quarantine,”

boats in the water with mountains in the background with Phi Phi Islands in the background

Thailand’s Islands, including Koh Samui, Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta are some of the most sought after tourism destinations in the world, with economies almost entirely dependent on tourism. Whereas cities such as Bangkok have diversified economies and millions of commuting locals, where an outbreak could quickly undo the good work the country has put in, creating safe zones around tourists would alleviate many of these concerns.

Who wouldn’t want to see Maya Beach, the beach from “The Beach”?

Passengers would transfer airside onto connecting flights through major hubs, avoiding the general population and would then be able to visit the many resorts which line these islands, without coming into close contact with millions of locals. As previously discovered in the Maldives, quarantines are much easier on islands than in cities.

Naturally, this doesn’t solve everything. Locals who staff resorts, hotels, bars, restaurants and attractions would be in contact with visitors, but with most staying on the islands for extended periods of time, contact tracing and other measures could keep any issues out of the mainland.

This is creative thinking from Thai authorities, which could make the country one of the first to open borders to Westerners, with the control elements in place via an island barrier. The question is now when?

Resorts are hurting, people would love to visit, and this seems like a logical step in ensuring safety for residents, but opportunity as well.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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      1. But we don’t know what travel restrictions will be in place at that time. Until things officially open up, I’m very hesitant to book travel.

  1. I’m with @Doug, what is the timeline for this? My wife and I need to book a vacation to replace our July trip to Hawaii which seems to be tracking towards a wash this year.

  2. This is such a terrible idea.. there is a reason Maya Bay has been closed almost 2 years even before covid19. I cannot imagine anything more terrible than an island full of tourist that will kill what is left of these once beautiful Thai islands.

    Such a terrible idea for many reasons. This is pretty much a “tourist tour” let’s put all tourists on the same plane, and same island, and give them X amount of activities they can do. Its my worse nightmare.

    I like to rent my motorbike and do whatever the hell I want and not be restricted on where I can go. I guarantee this will be a terrible experience for anyone who wants to go. All you are missing is a Chinese national with a flag directing you where to go. Have fun

    1. Ok Tee, if you want to stay home indefinitely and not help any local tourism dependent economies then no one is forcing you

  3. Thailand failed to do a good job testing everyone. That”s why they have low COVID-19 numbers.

  4. Sadly many places of beauty in Thailand have been destroyed by tourism unless you can get of the beaten track. Cannot think of anything worse than sitting shoulder to shoulder, on Railay Beach amongst many uncaring tourists.

  5. The Thai authorities have indeed very creative thinking. Every week new idea. Mostly fortunately the one from week before has been forgotten. Do not get too excited. It is the flavor of the week. 5555

  6. The devil is in the details but -if- this is done right it could be a great way to go.

  7. Most people go to Thailand to mingle with the locals..if I want to hang out with other tourists I will..awe I dont that’s the point

  8. Tee and Ian are correct. Its already a sad surprise to visit some of these islands and see how over crowed, miss treated, and thousands are already have pushed through tours there like cattle. This is a horrible idea.

  9. So what about all the other islands where tourists are relied on to keep the local economy going, will they be abandoned leaving those locals trying to eek out a living. What a stupid idea. What about the Bangkok economy, would tourism only be allowed in a certain area.

  10. Dumb idea as usual from the Thai government. Not every farang wants to get shipped off to some Island as their forced vacation option. Not to mention that all the mainland resorts will continue to suffer from lack of business.
    Like I told my Thai fiancee, the last thing I want is to be around a bunch of other farang on my vacation. If I wanted that, I could have just as well stayed in my home country.
    Thailand has way too many other beautiful things to see and places to visit than to be herded onto some island.

    1. I can just imagine one million Chinese tourists fighting with European and East Indians for food in restaurants and for space on beaches. Sounds like a nightmare.

  11. The silly boobs that at this time in history go will spend 14 days of their holiday in Quarantine lol 2020- Late 2021 is a wrap Over should be you’re target early 2022 and the (INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE going to have a say you people don’t eager to be that dumb.

  12. So go to an island filled with Russians and Americans. The 2 countries that have failed, breathtakingly failed, to contain the virus. Pass.

  13. What a hideous idea. Spend thousands of dollars to get there and be funneled only where the Thai government wants me to go ?? – along with thousands of other foreign tourists tromping along all around me, sweaty bodies closing in ??.
    If I want that, I’ll stay right here in New York and visit Times Square on a hot Saturday night in July. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who want to get off the beaten track even if only going down a small side street or visit local markets or finding a small gem of a shop or restaurant. NOTHING would make me follow the crowd and only to tourist sights that are anything but.

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