Thailand’s plan to steadily reopen to tourism continues with the popular holiday island Koh Samui opening its borders for fully vaccinated overseas visitors. The world’s 5 richest royals revealed – and none of them are from Europe As of July 14, international travellers have been able to visit the island hotspot as part of Thailand’s “Samui Plus” model. Arrivals must spend seven days in quarantine at one of Samui’s 19 government-approved resort hotels before they can visit neighbouring islands Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, according to the Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT). This comes on the back of Thailand’s inaugural “Phuket Sandbox” scheme that kicked off on July 1. Visitors to the island must test negative for Covid-19 three times over the course of 14 nights before being allowed to travel elsewhere in Thailand, though a special seven-day window has just opened for those planning to go to certain neighbouring areas like Koh Phi Phi. Will Raeburn’s zeal for reducing and reusing change the fashion industry? The gradual reopening is part of a wider strategy by the Thai government to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated visitors without quarantine by mid-October. Since last year, visitors from over 50 countries and territories, including Hong Kong, have been able to visit Thailand, but have had to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. In April, the government temporarily reduced quarantine to 10 days, but reverted back to 14 days after the country suffered from a third wave of Covid-19 cases. Despite the country’s vaccination efforts being ramped up in recent weeks, only 5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. Thailand is now experiencing at least 10,000 new cases a day, with dozens of deaths, the highest number they’ve experienced since the pandemic began. But despite the rising infections, the Thai government has been keen to welcome international arrivals again, with tourism a key contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Why are K-dramas the hot new Thai podcast trend? The Samui Plus model allows tourists to visit the popular dive island Koh Tao and the beach-fringed island of Koh Phangan. Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan was once famous for tens of thousands of revellers flocking there each month for its Full Moon Party, but today it has a far quieter vibe, with just serene white sands and turquoise waters. David Deveaux, a French expat living on Koh Phangan for more than 12 years, said that the atmosphere on the island was good, with good weather and low infection rates. Why private jet usage is soaring amid a pandemic “Most people are happy to be here, happy to be in paradise in Koh Phangan during the pandemic. Most are nomad workers, happy to be here. [For] locals, the feeling I think is one way up, one way down ... it’s difficult because a lot of things changing at the moment,” he explained. Deveaux, who owns the eatery Piz n’ Salads at the Night Market Vintage Café in Baan Tai, hoped for new arrivals for the sake of his business, but is sceptical whether there will be many arriving this year. “If people can come it’s cool, but if it’s too difficult with all this process, quarantine ... hopefully in October things will change,” he added. According to an email from TAT, 11 approved resorts, including Sea Breeze Phangan and Little Paradise Resort, are on offer for those travelling to Koh Phangan after quarantining in Samui. Meet ‘Thailand’s Paris Hilton’, the Nai Lert heiress bringing Aman to Bangkok The tourism board also confirmed that airline Bangkok Airways has made 247 advance bookings for flights into Samui up until the end of October. Local media reported that according to Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesman of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), around 1,000 foreign visitors will arrive in Samui by mid-August. Hainan Island: the duty-free paradise you may never have heard of Direct international flights from Hong Kong to Samui have yet to be announced, but Bangkok Post reports that the Samui-Singapore route will commence on August 1. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .