Thailand's Phuket this week stepped up preparations for a July 1 launch of its "Sandbox" scheme.
The founder of Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd. believes other Asia tourist spots might take a cue from the island's strategy to bring in visitors as travel restrictions ease.
"Every government is beginning to feel around on how to open up - and the Phuket Sandbox is really a viable way now because even the travel bubbles that people talked about didn't take place," Banyan Tree Executive chairperson Ho Kwon Ping told Bloomberg.
"It's the first time anywhere east of the Maldives that you have a country with this population size with such a low vaccination rate actually opening up to the rest of the world."
The tourist province has started practicing immigration and Covid-19 control procedures that will be applied at its international airport, three seaports and security checkpoints on the road leading to the island.
All international visitors entering via the Phuket Sandbox program will be subject to Covid screening, while security checks on the route connecting Phuket to the mainland will screen both those leaving and Thailand citizens entering.
Phuket Sandbox is contingent on the island's population achieving a vaccination rate of at least 70%. After a deliberate effort to get people vaccinated, it now stands at over 60%, considerably higher than the national average of 5%.
Tourism-reliant Thailand plans to allow quarantine-free travel to its top tourist destination beginning July 1 for the first time in more than a year, providing tourists are inoculated and don't come from high-risk nations.
Foreigners must additionally provide proof of health insurance of at least $100,000, hotel reservation paperwork and a negative polymerase chain reaction test performed within 72 hours before travel.
The plan's final details are anticipated to be approved by Thailand Friday - with cabinet approval expected next week. If it is successful, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha says it may be replicated at other tourist destinations, including Chiang Mai and Koh Samui.