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Phuket’s first tourists since lockdown to arrive from China

Phuket’s first tourists since lockdown to arrive from China

PHUKET: The first tourists to arrive in Phuket since the COVID-19 lockdown began six months ago will be 120 Chinese nationals from Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, who will be landing at Phuket International Airport next Thursday (Oct 8).

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 29 September 2020, 05:50PM

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew (left) and Tassayu Dechachote, chief of the Department of Disease Control team at Phuket airport yesterday (Sept 28). Photo: AOT Phuket

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew (left) and Tassayu Dechachote, chief of the Department of Disease Control team at Phuket airport yesterday (Sept 28). Photo: AOT Phuket

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn announced the news today (Sept 29), assuring that the arrivals will be safe.

“Guangzhou has not had any new COVID-19 infections for months. This group of tourists must be tested for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before entering Thailand and they must stay in alternative state quarantine for 14 days,” he said.

The tourists will be tested for the virus on arrival, he assured.

All of the arrivals must have health insurance coverage to the equivalent of US$100,000, Mr Yuthasak added, but he did not specifically confirm whether the tourists will be entering Thailand on the recently approved Special Tourist Visa.

The new arrivals will be initially granted 90 days to stay in the country and will have the option of renewing their stays twice more, each time for a period of 90 days, he said.

The Special Tourist Visa allows tourists to stay in the country for a period of 270 uninterrupted days.

“They must follow public health measures, wear masks, wash their hands regularly and strictly maintain social distancing,” Mr Yuthasak said.

Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) Chief Thanit Sermkaew told The Phuket News today, “We are ready to receive tourists in Phuket province.” 

“The health protocols have been prepared for the first group of tourists, which will come in October,” he added.

Dr Thanit also confirmed that Phuket was now home to nine hotels that have been approved to serve as alternative local quarantine. The nine hotels are the Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, Trisara, Metadee Resort and Villas, Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa, Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, The Senses Resort and Pool Villas, Banyan Tree Phuket and the Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort. 

“They had 918 rooms at the time they applied, but now some of them are adding more rooms, so in the end these nine hotels together offer about 1,200 guest rooms right now,” Dr Thanit explained.

Phuket Vice Governor Phichet Panaphong explained at a meeting of the Phuket Communicable Disease Committee yesterday that tourists who had completed 14 days quarantine will be required to move to another tourist accommodation hotel or condominium for the remainder of their first 30 days’ stay.

“This is to ensure that the income generated by tourists is shared across the province,” he said.

Under the conditions laid out so far by the CCSA in Bangkok, tourists who land in Phuket must spend the first 14 days in quarantine before they can venture out to other areas in the province.

They must stay in Phuket for their first 30 days, after which they can visit other areas in the country, but only after being tested for COVID-19 again.


Phuket had not had any new COVID-19 cases for 126 days, V/Gov Phuket also noted yesterday.

However, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn last week announced plans to reduce the quarantine period to just seven days, if the initial groups of tourists prove that the COVID-19 preventative measures prove effective.

If the first two groups of 300 foreigners complete the 14-day quarantine without a positive case, then the ministry plans to propose an increase in the number of tourists per week by Nov 1, he said.

National Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul made the public declaration yesterday, “We are ready to welcome tourists to Thailand.”

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew last week already made his public statement of confidence, explaining that the last hurdle for Phuket to be fully cleared to receive tourists was for a new laboratory set up at Phuket airport to be inspected and approved by experts.

Governor Narong personally inspected the laboratory yesterday, where tourist arrivals will be tested for COVID-19.

Following the inspection, Phuket Airport General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo told The Phuket News that Ministry of Health Medical Sciences Division experts already stationed in Phuket were to inspect the laboratory tomorrow (Sept 30).

Mr Thanee was also very confident the lab would pass inspection.

“Each tourist will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport. The test will take about two hours, and the laboratory has the ability to test about 50 people per hour,” he said.

Last week Governor Narong pointed out that Phuket was suffering heavily from the impact on tourism from the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 70% of all tourism businesses across Phuket still closed.

According to data collected by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), 30.4% of businesses in Phuket are now open as normal, he told a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall held to discuss strategies to accelerate economic recovery and tourism to expedite aid to people affected by COVID 19.

Citing the data, Governor Narong explained that 66.8% of all tourism business are still “closed temporarily”, and 2.8% had closed permanently. 

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure,” he said.

The DEPA report also marked that 50% of staff working in the Phuket tourism industry were Phuket natives, while 34.3% of staff came from other provinces in Southern Thailand. The rest, 15.7%, were from other parts of Thailand, Governor Narong explained.

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Kurt | 03 October 2020 - 01:18:36

Testing 50 tourists per hour, that is 2.5 hours for 120 tourists + 2 hours test outcome waiting time. So tourist nr 120 is after airport arrival 2.5 + 2 = 4.5 hours in waiting. ( after may be a 3, 4 hour flight).

DeKaaskopp | 02 October 2020 - 15:54:45

Kurt,what's wrong with googling ? It helps to counter your incorrect statements. If you would use it more often,you would learn that Foreigners married to Thais are allowed to come back, or that Chiang Mai is not the most polluted city worldwide !
@ PN  Being a bit sensitive again ? Better  stop people from posting false statements !

Kurt | 02 October 2020 - 00:40:14

Hahaha DeK, you and googling. Google again? Like with the Chiang Mai air pollution?  And than you run away from Google and come up with a un known site of another country again just to escape reality?  Hahaha, You made my day.  You are quite 'google fun'.

Lu | 01 October 2020 - 16:25:17

Fresh origin covid ;-)

Pascale | 01 October 2020 - 15:36:17

Kurt, what are you afraid of ? Those Chinese  will have to go to quarantine for 2 weeks after their arrival ! 

Kurt | 01 October 2020 - 13:13:37

China's 'Golden week' started.
Half the country on the move.
How many of the 120 Chinese arriving on Phuket at end of their  Golden week will be a 'arriving risk'? Very wrong timing to welcome Chinese tourists/business people to Phuket.

DeKaaskopp | 01 October 2020 - 09:12:30

Kurt, go and google what kind of foreigners are allowed to come back.I personally know some people married to Thai's who came back here in August/September on different airlines.They had to contact their embassies first and needed to do some paperwork. I don't know about off shore worker .But saying that foreigners married to Thais are not allowed to come back is sheer nonsense.

Shwe | 01 October 2020 - 07:36:28

I do not believe these Chinese are tourists, more likely business men coming to Phuket to buy struggling businesses are rock bottom prices, this has been arranged for a long time, how else can they get everything arranged one day after the STV was officially approved

DeKaaskopp | 30 September 2020 - 15:07:04

Kurt, your rant is partly incorrect. People with a Thai spouse are for quite some time allowed to come back to Thailand. Of course they have to quarantine first too !

Kurt | 30 September 2020 - 13:51:32

@BigA, do you include foreigners working off shore, living in Thailand with thai wife and children and abandon since March to return to Thailand. Same as here living Retirees, with property here, who still waiting a abroad to return home? Why get 120 Chinese a preferential status to VISIT Phuket passing by mentioned the 2 other 'closer' groups?

BigA | 30 September 2020 - 11:57:12

Bloody hell ! Let business start ! All this negative thinking get us nowhere ! Look forward and stop with all this negative commence

Kurt | 30 September 2020 - 10:37:33

Why 120 Chinese 'tourists' ( read: 'business' people) may enter and foreigners presently abroad, married with thai, have families with children here, and Retirees, with property on Phuket, waiting abroad for months to return are still not allowed, but Chinese people are? Answer: The 120 Chinese business people are more important than the other mentioned groups???

Kurt | 30 September 2020 - 10:27:19

Emergency Decree till 31 Oct. Married foreigners/Retirees still can not return to their homes in Thailand. But sudden out of the blue next week a group of 120 Chinese coming in. Must have been prepared already in advance during some time. It are no tourists, but people coming to check their business. They not even will stay 90 days! Where they business-traveling now in China?

JohnC | 30 September 2020 - 09:24:05

Any revenue from them will just end up in the pockets of corrupt officials or back in China where most money their tourists spent here always ended up before covid. If you must push to let tourists $ in at least make them quality tourists.

Shwe | 30 September 2020 - 07:51:43

This flight may originate in Guangzhou, bt the passenger could be from anywhere in China maybe even where they have bubonic plague. Also the long stay visa was only approved on Monday but on Tuesday 120 Chinese are booked onto flights and into ASQ hotels, some smells here

Shwe | 30 September 2020 - 06:10:48

711 will benefit from these Chinese, I will be keeping well away from them

megamind | 29 September 2020 - 19:00:16

I'm sure that this huge amount of Chinese tourists with a big pocket full of money will save the Phuket tourist business... China took and Chine give funny doesn't it?

maverick | 29 September 2020 - 18:59:22

These will be returning residents or have property here - it’s a start at least....


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