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.