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Phuket business leaders call for ATK tests for Sandbox arrivals

Phuket business leaders call for ATK tests for Sandbox arrivals

PHUKET: Phuket Tourism leaders have requested the government to ease the mandatory COVID tests required of Sandbox tourists to be antigen tests (ATKs), instead of RT-PCR tests as is required now, to reduce the cost for Sandbox tourists and to encourage more people to come to Phuket under the scheme.

By The Phuket News

Monday 11 October 2021, 11:30AM

Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) President Bhummikitti Raktaengam announced that the request had been made at a PTA tourism event at the Royal Phuket City Hotel  in Phuket Town on Saturday (Oct 9).

The move also is expected to speed up the time taken for Sandbox tourists to receive their test results, and lessen the workload of the medical staff conducting the tests, Mr Bhummikitti said.

“It’s been 100 days since the opening of the country to accept foreign tourists according to the Phuket Sandbox plan,” Mr Bhummikitti said.

The association expected the number of foreign tourists to Phuket to rise dramatically in the coming months. After Dec 1, some 10,000 international tourists are expected to arrive in Phuket a day, he added.

“The government has already reduced the Sandbox area quarantine period from 14 days to seven days, and now we have asked the government to change the COVID testing rules [for Sandbox tourists] to be ATK tests instead of RT-PCR tests in order to make it more convenient for tourists and reduce costs. This is pending government approval, if possible,” he said

“This makes tourists more interested in traveling to Phuket and Thailand. At the moment, there are on average 400 to 700 [Sandbox] tourists arriving per day in Phuket, so the association aims to increase the number of tourists to 10,000 per day. This is expected to begin on December 1,” Mr Bhummikitti said.

Present at the event were key Phuket tourism leaders and PTA members Vice President Sarayuth Mallam; Nantida Atiset, Vice President of International Marketing; Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, Vice President of Meeting & Special Activities; Thanawat Ongcharoen, Treasurer; and Rangsiman Kingkaew, Vice President of Strategic Tourism.

At the event the PTA members urged business operators to have their staff ‒ and their staff’s family members ‒ receive the COVID vaccine third-dose booster injection, which they said was vital for the safe full reopening of Phuket to tourism.

Mr Rangsiman noted that Phuket business leaders are now preparing to enter a bid for the rights to host the Specialized Expo 2028 to attract foreigners to travel for health and wellness tourism.

“If Phuket province is selected as the host, that could lead to investment of up to B4 billion, and with further economic benefits Thailand worth more than B45bn,” he said.

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Kurt | 13 October 2021 - 09:40:12

What is the significant difference between a Antigen test and a RT-PCR test, quality- and reliability wise? Does it make sense to have different tests for different groups of people? Does that leave room for Covid infection continuation  in Thailand?

Kurt | 13 October 2021 - 09:06:42

PTA President Bhummikitti should first make sure that Thai returning from provinces, were hardly vaccinations are done so far, to Phuket's tourism industry are 3 times vaccinated ( sinovac + AZ). Upon arrival Phuket PCR tested, 1 week quarantine, and another PCR test. All to guarantee safety of foreign tourists and those who live presently on Phuket. Stop dreaming about billions THB.

maverick | 13 October 2021 - 08:27:33

With quarantine falling away and presumably COE anything is possible a lot of pent up demand especially in Europe and Asia, let’s hope the infrastructure here can cope with a sudden increase in numbers especially in Kata and Karon which were virtually shut down. We’ll see unknown territory even the 2003 Tsunami is not a benchmark 

Taswegian | 13 October 2021 - 08:23:20

I'm with Christy Sweet, I really like that Kurt has no filter.

Christy Sweet | 12 October 2021 - 12:53:09

Thais could not possibly care less what any Whitey  thinks except for those they're using as personal household cash cows.  Keep 'em rolling Kurt!! 

r u sure | 12 October 2021 - 10:14:41

@Kurt with all your negative ,know all, derogatory comments on just about everything in Thailand and Phuket in particular, some bordering, if not, totally ,on defamation I am surprised you have not had a visit from officialdom to question your raison d'etre here in Thailand! I don't think I am alone in thinking you would be happier somewhere else??

Kurt | 12 October 2021 - 09:34:23

10,000 tourist arrivals per day? Where are they going to be hold in quarantine for 1 week? Is there enough PCR test capacity? How many tests needed now with 1 week Q-time?  In all their bla-bla they not touch anything what is essential to  know/inform about how it will be handled. What a mess. Very poor information platform. Officialdom dreamers.

Kurt | 12 October 2021 - 01:41:31

10,000 tourists per day arriving? Haha, Forget about it as long there is a COE and quarantine time. A PCR test is peanuts compared with a 7 days Q-time, with after that being monitored every 30 minutes through your iPhone by a Thai Phuket Command Center. Who likes a Orwell 1984 regimental controlled holiday in Thailand? Wrong end of the rope pulling (again) with that test suggestion.


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