The key message was delivered at an event held yesterday (Oct 20) to launch a united campaign by local business leaders and Phuket officials to prepare island residents for inbound tourists from Nov 1 and to promote the island as a safe tourist destination.
The campaign, called “Together Phuket Stepping Forward”, was launched at the Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Chao Fah (Ramada Plaza Chaofah) in Wichit.
Governor Narong noted that Phuket was well prepared to receive tourists through the procedures and systems set in place under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, including the Mor Prom app, and the SHA and SHABA initiatives specifically designed for Sandbox.
He added that the next step forward would be through the Phuket Sandbox and various projects that will help Phuket’s economy recover “to prosper again in all sectors”.
"Moving forward from now on, it is important that we create as much income distribution as possible, to minimise the economic gap so that we can walk together in a stable manner in the midst of volatility. Phuket is ready to be a sandbox in every aspect of development to benefit the people of Phuket and Thailand,” he said.
Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong pointed out that systems in place to receive both foreign and domestic tourists were concise and integrated in all aspects.
“Phuket entry and exit measures [for domestic travellers] since October 16 are much easier. It signals the readiness of Phuket to move forward confidently. And Phuket is very ready to support the government’s policy of opening the country on November 1 and we will set a good example to welcome tourists again happily,” he said.
MORE INFECTIONS WILL COME
Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), pointed out plainly that more infections will come as the island reopens to receiving more visitors.
“The real world is that we will inevitably find infections from both foreign and domestic visitors, but the PPHO Health Team is confident in controlling and managing COVID-19 infections as we have learned from past experiences. With the support of all sectors, we are ready to live with COVID-19 safely,” he said.
Dr Kusak also pointed out that the number of hospital beds available for treating COVID patients had risen significantly over the past few weeks as patients had recovered, with fewer people needing treatment replacing them.
“The Phuket CCR Team [Comprehensive COVID-19 Response Team] is continuing its proactive prevention and solution operations in the community, and we are paying much attention to check on Group 608 at-risk people,” he added.
‘Group 608’ has become Phuket officials’ preferred term for higher at risk patients, comprising people over 60 years old along with those suffering from any of the seven recognised medical conditions that place patients at higher risk of developing serious signs of infection, plus women more than 12 weeks pregnant.
“Students are now registering through the Phuket Must Win website to be vaccinated, and more local quarantine centres, COVID Care Centres and Hospitels are closing,” he added.
Of note, according to the Phuket COVID Daily Situation Report issued by the PPHO, the total number of people reported as currently being held at ‘COVID-19 Care Centers’ across the island fell overnight by 237, from 1,438 to 1,201 ‒ indicating that at least one of the mass care facilities on the island had closed.
RECOVERY WILL TAKE TIME
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of the Phuket Tourist Association, noted that even with the doors to tourism reopening, it will take time for the island’s economy to recover to previous levels.
“Before Phuket’s economy becomes as good as it was, it will take time and cooperation of all parties. Therefore, we have to spread our wings to open this door to travel more in all channels.
“As a result, the Phuket economy will recover. The aim is to allow Phuket residents to move forward together with enough income to support them through the crisis,. and increase efforts to build tourism business sustainability for the next generation,” he said.