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Phuket reopening up for discussion

Phuket reopening up for discussion

BANGKOK: The plan to open Phuket to international travellers on Oct 1 must win public consensus to avoid the snags of the previous Phuket model, says Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 6 March 2021, 09:32AM

An elderly couple enjoy the Roi Rim Lay seafood festival on the Patong beachfront last weekend. Photo: PR Patong

An elderly couple enjoy the Roi Rim Lay seafood festival on the Patong beachfront last weekend. Photo: PR Patong

Mr Yuthasak’s comment follows tourism operators in the Andaman province starting a reopening plan called “Phuket First October” to prepare for a fast recovery within this year.

Under this scheme, Phuket must build up herd immunity by having 70% of its residents inoculated against COVID-19, starting from June, reports the Bangkok Post.

Mr Yuthasak said while the agency agrees with companies trying to welcome back foreign tourists as soon as possible, even earlier than October, the main concern remains mutual understanding in the local community.

Next week the Tourism and Sports Ministry and TAT plan to visit the province to follow the development of the reopening plan. Phuket was designated one of five target destinations to reopen to the foreign market. The authorities want to assess the reopening plan.

“If we want to establish Phuket as a sandbox, we have to hear from the local community clearly before proceeding. This means whether they agree with the plan, or to what extent they can accept relaxation on entry,” said Mr Yuthasak.

He said a clear stance from the supply side is necessary as tourism demand started to pick up significantly based on positive forward booking trends and tourism survey results.

“If the majority in Phuket, not only stakeholders in the tourism industry, agree with the plan, we can speed up the policy implementation,” said Mr Yuthasak.


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The Phuket Model created a panic across the island as residents disagreed with the ministry’s idea to let international tourists travel freely within designated areas.

Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter, said Phuket First October is different from the Phuket Model because it has more elaborate, practical procedures and risk management.

Under this plan, Phuket will gradually open in phases, starting from April and May with relaxation of quarantine, which is regulated by the Public Health Ministry. Tourists can stay for three days in a room and spend the rest of the quarantine within hotel areas.

The second phase, which starts when 70% of the population is vaccinated, offers a shorter quarantine for tourists, while vaccinated visitors may travel freely without quarantine.

He said the government should provide a clear timeline of the vaccine roll-out by April because international markets are following mass vaccination programmes in Thailand closely.

“We will miss out on the entire high season at the end of this year if we don’t have a timeline as travel agents in Europe have to plan their package sales in advance,” said Mr Kongsak.

“Just 1-2 months delay can cost us a tremendous loss.”


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mgb | 08 March 2021 - 17:15:08

I have done two lots of 7 day quarantine.  It is not nice.  So until
Zero there will be no bounce back.  Not looking forward to the 15 days in Phuket when I return at the end of the month.

drmokie | 06 March 2021 - 23:42:08

TAT doesn’t “get it.” Sure, some tourists will come with shorter quarantines, but not enough to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Until the quarantine is lifted entirely, Phuket is a dead island!

JSombra | 06 March 2021 - 15:42:12

The 'Phuket model' was rejected because it had nothing to do with Phuket beyond being imposed here by central gov and because it was stupid

Kurt | 06 March 2021 - 10:29:37

Besides, airlines not expect to reach previous passengers occupancy rate before 2025. ( Lufthansa wrote that already). So now, tickets to Thailand will be very expensive. Airlines can't effort to make long haul money losing flights.

Kurt | 06 March 2021 - 10:21:54

...before a airline allows you to fly to Thailand and back. Followed by a period of expensive quarantine after arrival in Thailand, and perhaps a certain form of quarantine after returning in home country.   The Thai thinking/discussion  in this article is to much 'domestic'. Completely passing by present situations in foreign countries.

Kurt | 06 March 2021 - 10:17:31

This whole discussion is about how Phuketians feel about 'opening' Phuket in October. Not a single word/thought about what the foreign tourists would feel to do. Do know that the way Phuket people mow suffers happens same way in foreign countries. Also there many job lost, savings gone, etc. Think about all the costly document/paper work to be done before a airline allows you to fly to Tha...


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