The announcement came on Tuesday following a cabinet meeting which concluded that a new Special Tourist Visa program would be allowed with a compulsory 14-day quarantine. There will be two extensions available for 90 days each, with the lengthiest visa period running up to 270 days.
The new visa may provide a sanctuary for superyachts to enjoy the natural splendour and magnificent cruising grounds of Thailand, with the opportunity for longer term stays. Asia Pacific Superyachts, the leading network of superyacht specialists in the region, is in conversation with the Thai government with the view to allowing owners and crew to complete the quarantine period on their vessel.
Gordon Fernandes, co-founder of APS, is one of the key figures involved in these discussions with government. The reopening would be a welcome boost to Phuket’s superyacht marinas, all of which are well-equipped to provide a stunning base to explore Thailand’s wonders.
“Marinas are playing an increasingly important role globally and in South East Asia,” explains Fernandes. “Phuket marinas can handle all the needs of a superyacht and berths are available for yachts up to 130m in length at any one of Phuket’s many fully equipped marinas.”
The Asia Pacific region is blessed with breath-taking natural beauty, much of which can only truly be discovered by yacht. There is a growing appetite for expeditions to more remote locations, which has fuelled the trend of explorer superyachts in recent years, and Thailand is certainly one country to see the benefit.
“Superyacht visits are increasing exponentially and over the past 15 years approximately 1,500 yachts and cruisers (prior to Covid-19) visited the ‘Peral of the Andaman’ annually,” continued Fernandes. Captain Charlie Dwyer, a co-founder of Asia Pacific Superyachts based on the Thai island of Koh Samui, reinforced Fernandes’ view. “On the eastern side of the country, the Gulf of Thailand and Koh Samui have also been seeing more superyachts visit each year and we want to help to start bringing them back.”
Under the new Special Tourist Visa plan, Thailand aims to welcome between 100-300 visitors each week as a stimulus to the local economy. The benefit for guests is that the initial 90-day visa can be extended twice for two further periods of 90 days, bringing the total visa to 270 days. The initial quarantine period that is in place may still provide some issues though the aforementioned talks should make that easier for superyacht guests. Longer term stays will also suit superyachts, as the marina facilities and surrounding natural attractions provide plenty of security and adventure.
Both Gordon Fernandes and Captain Dwyer hope that superyachts will be among the first to take advantage of the new Special Tourist Visa. The opportunity to explore this sublime region of the world would come as a blessing for many who have had to bide their time for their next yachting adventure.