Mr Thanusak was unaware of the rule change when contacted by The Phuket News and asked to see a copy of the order issued by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana last night. On page 34 of the 37-page order, all venues registered under the Hotels Act were permitted to reopen from June 1.
After confirming that hotels were indeed allowed to open, Mr Thanusak praised the move.
“Those hotels in a position to reopen now can do so. Allowing hotels to reopen can help to reduce unemployment in Phuket,” he said.
Mr Thanusak pointed out that many hotels were not prepared to open immediately, as many had wound down their operations since they were ordered to close on April 4.
“But at least this gives hotel operators a choice. Those who are not ready to reopen can remain closed, as there are no tourists right now, but if they are ready they can reopen,” he added.
Mr Thanusak pointed out that hotels must now adjust their operations to include the ‘new normal’ health and hygiene requirements, not only to abide by the law but also to help instill confidence among potential tourists to want to come to Phuket.
He also pointed out that more needed to be done to allow tourists to come to Phuket, namely reopening Phuket International Airport to at least allow domestic flights for now, and critically for international flights later.
“More needs to be done in terms of marketing also, so potential tourists can feel confident in choosing to enjoy their holiday here,” he said.
Mr Thansuak repeated his advice for hoteliers to use the COVID-19 forced closure as a time to renovate properties and train staff.
“That way, their businesses will be more value-add attractive and more competitive for when the next tourism high season comes in about six months time,” he said.