Ms Piyapat revealed the news at a meeting of leading government officials at Angsana Laguna Phuket on Friday (Sept 18).
Present at the meeting were Phuket Vice Governor Phichet Panaphong, Piyapat’s advisor Ruamnakhorn Tubtimthongchai and TAT’s Tourism Industry Investment Promotion Department Chief Somphatsorn Raman.
Among others present for the meeting were Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Rungrote Thakurapunyasiri, Phuket Provincial Chief Administration Officer (Palad) Wikrom Chatree and representatives of Phuket tourism business associations.
Ms Piyapat explained that after the Cabinet approved the Special Tourist Visa (STV) Tuesday last week (Sept 15), the company had been contacted by around 10,000 Scandinavian tourists looking to stay in Thailand during their winter.
“Normally, some of them will go to Italy or Spain, but at this stage the pandemic is still happening in the countries, so it will be a good opportunity for Thailand to welcome them,” Ms Piyapat said.
However, the coordination of government officials, police and private companies was needed to make sure the management of long-stay tourist arrivals was conducted properly and safely, she said.
“The Special Tourist Visa will be issued only to those wanting to travel to Thailand longer than one month,” Ms Piyapat explained.
“The tourists must be quarantined for 14 days in an ASQ or ALSQ hotel and repeated COVID tests will be required before letting them in the provinces,” she added.
“Tourists must agree to book and pay for the hotel for their quarantine, and must specify which hotels they will stay at after the quarantine period, and have COVID-19 health insurance coverage of at least US$100,000, she said.
“Of key concern right now is to publicize information and build confidence among local people about the quality of the measures set for welcoming the tourists,” Ms Piyapat added.
The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has already stipulated that any flights bringing tourists into Thailand must be charter flights carrying no more than 120 passengers per flight, Ms Piyapat explained.
“As to flights arriving, the CCSA has approved only three inbound flights per month, so only 360 tourists can come each month,” she said.
“Everything must be done slowly, taking into account the feelings of the local people,” Ms Piyapat added.
Phuket Vice Governor Phichet told those at the meeting that the Phuket government had already set the measures for welcoming such tourists.
V/Gov Phichet also said, “At this stage, 78 hotels have registered to be the venue for alternative local state quarantine, but only four have passed the criteria and approved so far.”
However, Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Thanit Sermkaew has not recently confirmed that any new hotels in Phuket have been approved by the CCSA in Bangkok to serve as ALSQ venues.
Dr Thanit confirmed on Sept 9 that two more hotels in Phuket – the Metadee Phuket in Kata and the Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa – had been inspected and approved by Phuket local health officials to serve as ALSQ venues, but were still waiting for approval from the CCSA Bangkok.
So far Dr Thanit has confirmed that only the Anantara Mai Khao Phuket and Trisara Phuket Villas and Residences, altogether offering just 469 guest rooms, have been approved to serve as ALSQ venues – despite at least 14 hotels in Phuket applying for the privilege since late July.
Dr Thanit has yet to respond to questions from The Phuket News today to confirm whether any new hotels have been approved as ALSQ venues by the CCSA in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, V/Gov Phichet on Friday said that officers at Phuket International Airport will check certificate of entry (COE), tourists’ COVID-19 test certificate, the document of consent for quarantine 14 days, and their insurance coverage of at least US$100,000.
“The Phuket government will work carefully and thoroughly and think of the safety of the people as priority,” V/Gov Phichet said.
“And there will be police standing by at the hotels in case tourists try to walk free during quarantine,” he assured.
* Thailand Longstay Company was established in 2001 with the endorsement of the Thai Royal Government to support long stay tourism, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as a major shareholder of the company.
The Thailand Longstay Company website notes that the company aims to “provide the best services to retired expatriates to promote the tourism industry of the Kingdom of Thailand... Since the [company’s] establishment, the company has signed many MOU with many government organisations such as the Immigration Bureau, Tourist Police, and the Airports of Thailand.”