Thailand Is Offering ‘Golf Quarantine’ To Bring Back Tourists For Nearly £3,000
A number of resorts in Thailand are offering luxurious ‘golf quarantine’ experiences in an effort to boost tourism in the country.
While most of us associate quarantine with being stuck indoors watching Netflix, Thailand is hoping to entice some of the world’s wealthier residents over with its alternative approach.
Following approval last month, six certified resorts are offering ‘golf quarantine’ packages that allow travellers to utilise the courses while still abiding by quarantine restrictions.
Resorts including the Mida Golf Club, Evergreen Hills Golf Club, Blue Star Golf Course, Artitaya Golf and Resort, Sawang Resort and Golf Club and Artitaya Chiang Mai Golf have opened their courses up to the scheme, having in the past hosted international tournaments and several top Thai golfing pros.
The rules remain strict to ensure golfing does not increase coronavirus infections, with golfers having to undergo three COVID tests during their mandatory two weeks of quarantine. The first will be taken upon arrival, and must come back negative in order for the traveller to head out onto the golf course.
The second swab occurs on either the fifth or seventh day of quarantine, while the last one happens within the final two days.
Players will be given different tee times throughout the day, ensuring players have most of the course to themselves as they play up to 14 rounds, each with 18 holes. Participants can play in groups, though social distancing will be monitored.
The decision to run the scheme comes as part of an effort to present Thailand as a ‘golf paradise’.
Speaking to VICE, Thapanee Kiatpaibool, the deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said: ‘When people see it, they will make Thailand the number one golf destination after the COVID situation normalizes.’
With golf quarantine packages starting from around $3,800, it’s clear the scheme isn’t designed for backpackers on a budget. Mark Siegl, the managing director of GolfAsian, explained that foreign golfers spend about three times as much as non-golfing tourists in the country, making them desirable visitors.
They’re more luxury and that type of tourist that has a lot lower environmental impact. They’re not going to the sensitive environmental places like national parks and islands that are very sensitive to a large number of people.
The country is hoping to attract luxury tourists with spending power from nearby countries such as Japan, China and Korea, and efforts appear to be paying off as the tourism authority has revealed approximately 40 to 70 Korean travellers are scheduled to be the first group to undergo golf quarantine at the beginning of February.
Sisamai Janhom, the coordinator at Artitaya Golf and Resort, expressed hopes that the new scheme will help boost the business after a number of employees were forced to take leave during the pandemic.
Those hoping to take part in golf quarantine have to prepare a number of documents before travel, including a Single-Entry Tourist Visa (TR) or a Special Tourist Visa (STV), medical and travel insurance, a fit-to-fly health certificate and a Certificate of Entry from an embassy or consulate.
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