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Phuket to submit plan to reopen July 1

Phuket to submit plan to reopen July 1

BANGKOK: Phuket will submit its reopening plan to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) for approval this Friday (Mar 26) in a bid to let inoculated tourists visit without quarantine in July, while Samui also hastened the reopening process with a sealed model.

COVID-19Coronavirushealthtourismeconomics
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 09:12AM


Beach chairs lie empty on the resort island of Phuket as even local tourists have disappeared in the wake of the recent outbreak of Covid-19. Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran / Bangkok Post

Beach chairs lie empty on the resort island of Phuket as even local tourists have disappeared in the wake of the recent outbreak of Covid-19. Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran / Bangkok Post

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the reopening plan, known as the Phuket Tourism Sandbox, will depend largely on vaccine allocation to the Andaman island as it must achieve herd immunity by inoculating 70% of the population before letting foreign visitors in by that date, reports the Bangkok Post.

The plan, to be submitted to CESA on March 26, will include a vaccination proposal, indicating the number of doses needed and the timeline of inoculation that will be suitable for a safe reopening.

He said public communities tend to consent to this plan more than last year’s Phuket model as it is equipped with a more elaborate plan that can convince them with health safety measures.

According to the sandbox proposal, Phuket needs to vaccinate at least 466,587 people which requires 933,174 doses. To reach the immunity goal within the time frame, it should start the first round of inoculations by April 15, followed by the second from May 15 onward.

“Previously, Phuket set the Phuket First October for quarantine-free entry. But the new sandbox with an earlier starting date will benefit the whole country as we can evaluate this programme first before Thailand reopens all its borders in October,” said Mr Yuthasak.

He said long-haul markets are likely to visit Thailand in the initial stage. The post-pandemic travel which needs extra requirements, such as a COVID-19 test and insurance, means travellers will opt for a longer stay and spend more for each trip.

Smarter Energy Solution Phuket

Bhummikitti Raktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said the tourism sandbox will help contribute at least B84.3 billion to the island’s economy, which is higher than the previous reopening plan set for October that expected to generate B55bn.

At present, the private sector and provincial government are confident about the plan, but the success factor is based on the vaccination programme which is the only unclear direction. Local operators still want the central government to make a decision.

Under the sandbox plan, tourists who want to join the quarantine-free programme are required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport or IATA travel pass. They still have to take a PCR test at the airport and activate the ThailandPlus tracing application while in Phuket.

“Both the private and public sectors in the province are ready. But to proceed with the plan, we need vaccine rollouts within the timeline,” said Mr Bhummikitti.

Meanwhile, Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said Koh Samui will introduce sealed routes to international tourists that keep them away from residents.

Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated tourists are required to stay in their hotel rooms for the first two days and get a swab test on the second day. If the result is negative, they can travel to designated areas within the island such as Ang Thong Marine National Park and Koh Tan from the fourth to the seventh days.

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maverick | 25 March 2021 - 15:34:12

Masks are only worn on motorbikes - minus the helmet of course very lassez-faire attitude towards death from Thais and Farangs 

Christy Sweet | 24 March 2021 - 21:22:48

Every business I entered on my weekly shopping errands had westerners walking around without masks and no one would call them on it and enforce the rules plainly exhibited 
 in front of the shop. It just will never end because people are too selfish. 

drmokie | 24 March 2021 - 21:19:27

The TAT still doesn’t understand tourism. In spite of fact that tourism is 90% of the economy, they propose archaic and unworkable models. Tourist come to “have unencumbered fun.” And there are no plans to integrate those of us who are retired back with our retirement visas. I’m too old for insurance but have 100% coverage in USA. I spend B100,000/month, 12 months a year!

Kurt | 24 March 2021 - 14:02:06

The private and public sectors are not ready to welcome tourists as long the locals are not vaccinated. To intro sealed routes to keep foreign tourists away from residents is not a promising holiday for foreigners. The vaccination program is the only unclear direction? Quite a understatement.

Kurt | 24 March 2021 - 13:46:28

2-3 week holiday foreign tourists don't accept 10 day quarantine on Phuket, as long Phuket inhabitants are not tested/vaccinated. The Covid-19 condition of Phuket inhabitants? Complete a unknown happening.  Phuket Officials this moment actual not know what the present Phuket local Covid-19 situation is. Testing is just among foreign workers in their shack camps.

Apirath | 24 March 2021 - 06:42:16

Months into the pandemic when its devastating consequences had started to pinch we said Phuket would never again count entirely on tourism. To these days every breath it takes is still about tourism. What have we done about finding and realising our new cash crops?

skip | 23 March 2021 - 15:46:27

the people shouldnt fear covid with the 13 month TOTAL death toll for thailand being 92 for a population nearing 70 million. 4 died in phuket and at least 2 of those had pre existing co morbidities. the WHO have destroyed economies and caused millions of deaths due to unnecessary counterproductive restrictions. but they will make squillions from the vaccine. defy WHO and just go for it.

CaptainJack69 | 23 March 2021 - 13:46:52

Right now almost half the population of the UK have received their first dose (just short of 30 million people). The numbers for Thailand aren't available but an educated guess says what... a few thousand people have got the first jab? A LOT of progress needs to made before anyone can think about "reopening".

Kurt | 23 March 2021 - 10:45:39

A bit premature to think about foreign tourist arrivals in July. This moment all over  Europe Covid-19 figures are spiking. Lock downs and night curfews all over. All countries have 'Code Orange', meaning no not essential traveling like holiday. Insurances not insure holidays. Lowering of R-factor to below 1.0 is not in sight.

 

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