Thailand Rolls Out “Digital Yacht Quarantines”

The new program aims to draw more high-end tourists to Phuket as the island gradually reopens for international visitors.

Photo: Mohamed Masaau/Unsplash

Yacht-owners who can’t wait to visit Thailand might not be able to skirt quarantine requirements, but they can self-isolate in the comfort and privacy of their own vessels off the coast of Phuket. This week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) released details of a brand-new Digital Yacht Quarantine scheme. The initiative is led by Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion agency, the Thai Yacht Business Association (TYBA), and local tech company Pomo House International; the latter is known for developing a series of child loss prevention gadgets, which have found a new purpose amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Upon arrival, incoming travelers will need to get in touch with a TYBA representative, who will coordinate with health authorities to arrange PCR testing. Should they test negative for the virus, the visitors will be fitted with one of two smart watch models (the Activ 10+ or Smartwatch Active 30+) by Pomo House.

Those quarantining aboard yachts are asked to stay within 10 kilometers of the shore, and the smart watches must be worn at all times so health authorities can monitor the visitors’ pulses, blood pressure, and body temperatures in real time. These high-tech trackers also have the ability to send out an emergency SOS signal if the participants require urgent medical assistance.

Once the 14-day quarantine period is complete, data from the smart watches will be analyzed before visitors can disembark and come ashore in Phuket. TAT says the initiative is aimed at “creating additional arrival and revenue streams for Phuket tourism operators” while building confidence in the Thai public health sector. The project expands on the yacht quarantine program that was rolled out last October; TAT projects that it could attract more than 100 yachts and between 300–500 visitors this year.

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