The Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO), which also serves as the Phuket Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Incident Command Centre, late last night published the full 37-page provincial order listing all business, services and activities allowed to open and resume operations from today (June 1).
Buried on page 34 of the order is the listing of all places registered under the Hotels Act as permitted to reopen from today.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakan along with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, along with Department of Health Director-General Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, last Monday (May 25) launched the government’s “Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration: SHA” certification scheme aimed to prepare the Thai tourism industry for the recovery period and enhance confidence amongst international and domestic tourists.
Mr Phiphat said, “The COVID-19 virus spread quickly and widely to many countries around the world, infecting and killing many people. Currently, Thailand has been able to control the spread of the disease thanks to the quick action taken by the Royal Thai Government and the whole-hearted support of the general public.
“However, Thailand is still at risk of being hit by a “second wave”, which will require continued vigilance and public support for the prevention and control measures. At the same time, we must ensure a gradually phased-in economic recovery with behavioural change in accordance with the new way of life or New Normal,” he added.
Mr Chote Trachu, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said, “The policy of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is to prepare tour operators and tourists for the period after the country has ensured safe conditions for travel. The virus has caused widespread travel disruption resulting in a negative impact on the global economy. Tourism is the first industry to have been affected and may be the last industry to recover to normal. It is necessary to make major adjustments to ensure its future sustainability.”
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has assigned TAT to adjust the tourism policy to be in accordance with the Cabinet’s resolution under TAT’s mission. The urgent policy is to upgrade the standard of cleanliness and hygiene under the concept of “Repair – Rebuild”, so that tourism establishments can adjust their products and services in accordance with the New Normal and boost tourist confidence after the crisis has eased, reported the TAT last week.
“The SHA project aims to make tourism a part of the overall national preventive measures and ensure that both Thai and foreign tourists have a positive experience, and that they are happy and confident in the sanitation and safety of Thailand’s tourism products and services”, Minister Phiphat said.
Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, Director-General of the Department of Health, said, “The cooperation between the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is designed to improve the ‘New Normal’ situation in three areas: Leisure Tourism, sports and MICE. The Public Health measures will help to promote tourism by 1) reducing the risk of infection and transmission from travel, and 2) building confidence in travel because it impacts on all sectors of tourism.
“The Ministry of Public Health would like to request people travelling to various destinations to please strictly abide by the various preventive measures in order to facilitate a speedy return to normal travel. Even after the relaxation measures, we would like to request all travellers to abide by the prescribed guidelines in order to reduce the risk of infection,” she said.
TAT Governor Yuthasak noted, “Ensuring high health and safety standards will be one of the key criteria for Thai tourism to establish its competitive advantage in the recovery period. The desire to travel will remain strong, but when it actually comes to the decision-making time, visitors will opt for those destinations where they feel confident about their personal safety.”
The Governor said that all applying establishments will undergo strict inspection and be assigned the SHA logo as a mark of quality certification of the service standards of that establishment. The logo will be issued by TAT and have a validity period of two years.
All the names of the accredited establishments will be entered into a database. If any violations are reported, the logo will be revoked, the TAT noted in its report.