The TAT Phuket also stated it has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of Insurance Commission to ensure that tourists wishing to visit the island have the correct insurance cover in place before they are issued with a Certificate Of Entry (COE).
As part of a press conference broadcast live this morning (July 21), TAT Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri raised the issue as it was confirmed a British tourist became the latest to test positive for COVID-19, taking the total to 19 thus far under the Sandbox scheme.
“The problem we have found with some of the tourists who have entered Phuket under the Sandbox scheme and tested positive so far is that the insurance policies they have do not cover COVID-19 treatment,” Director Nanthasiri said. She did not, however, specify how many of the 19 thus far infected did not have the correct insurance.
“Before applying for a COE, tourists must have an insurance policy that covers COVID-19 treatment to ensurethey do not need to pay for any treatment themselves. We urge all tourists wishing to visit Phuket to ensure this is in place,” Director Nanthasiri continued.
“The TAT Phuket office has contacted relevant officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of Insurance Commission to clarify this condition and ensure we work together to find the best solution,” she added.
No additional information was provided on how COEs had been issued without an applicant having the correct insurance cover in place.
Providing a broader update on statistics, Director Nanthasiri explained that from the date the scheme launched on July 1 through to yesterday (July 20), a total 8,981 arrivals have been confirmed via the Sandbox scheme.
Excluding Thai nationals, the top five nationalities that make up this total number are American, British, Israeli, German and French respectively.
“We estimate the average stay of a sandbox tourist in Phuket to be 11 nights,” Director Nanthasiri said.
“Some people stay only for seven days and return to their countries,” she added.
“Income generated from these tourists is in excess of B400 million. This figure is calculated using hotel room rates and other associated costs, excluding the cost of flights. However, right now hotel room costs are considered low.”
Phuket Marine Office Chief Nachaphong Pranit explained that between July 1 and 20, a total 2,358 tourists, or about 27% of all Sandbox arrivals, taken 503 boat trips via piers and marinas on the island.
From July 14, a total of 101 sandbox tourists have passed through the Phuket checkpoint to visit other provinces, commented Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Pornsak Nuannoo.
“However, when they return to Phuket they must fully prepare documents to satisfy the entry requirements under the Phuket provincial order,” he warned.