Mr Bhummikitti explained his concern after a meeting with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn and other top-ranking officials on Wednesday (June 2).
“We have only 28 days left, and I think information or clarity should have come out. However, from the meeting, all we got was a lack of clarity in several aspects,” Mr Bhummikitti said.
“We have to accept that the TAT is just one of the organisations that should have clarity right now. The problem is that we are questioned a lot by foreign tour agencies about what the conditions are for coming tourists and anything they need to do or prepare.
“There are 28 days left until July 1 when foreign tourists are allowed to come, but the tourists have not been told what they need to do to prepare. We cannot answer them,” he said.
“Our incapacity to answer the questions is because making decisions is out of our authority, so I want to ask the officials responsible, which mainly are three ministries: the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Mr Bhummikitti added.
“The three ministries must talk together and create clear information for what they want tourists to do under the Phuket Sandbox, which allows them to come to Phuket without quarantine.
“Additionally, we also need the list of selected countries, the testing involved, and the tracing app to be used, which we have been talking about for a long time.
“In Thailand, right now, there is no tracing app that really works. We have talked about this for two months, and now we have 28 days left to open the Sandbox. We have not received any answer about this, so I need to ask relevant officials for clarity. The three main ministries, not all the Cabinet,” he said.
“If we have clear information, we will be able to answer their questions. Then they will come, helping our economy,” Mr Bhummikitti explained.
“The Phuket Governor has talked about the risk management [of COVID-19], which all people in Phuket are working on and giving our best corporation. The number of people getting vaccinated is proof of our unity to build herd immunity,” he noted.
“The period of 28 days after this will be important for Phuket and the country. If the settings are not clear [sic], the Phuket Sandbox cannot open, and this we must be able to tell the world, as we have done before. If we keep giving explanations, will they believe us?” he posed.
“The Phuket Governor has clearly said that there are three levels of readiness, including the readiness of Phuket, Thailand, and the world,” Mr Bhummikitti pointed out.
“I can proudly say that people in Phuket have given good cooperation, been united, and are ready. Whether the country is ready or not? We have to ask the three main ministries whether they are really ready and ask the national government whether they will give their best support. For the world level, we will see which tourists from which countries are ready to come,” he said.
“This is very complicated. If we look at the main 28 countries of our [usual source market] tourists, we have about 20 countries that have asked their people to observe quarantine when they return. It is not easy, but we need to be clear about our conditions for them first,” he added.
“Our association [the PTA] and others receive about 20-30 emails a day inquiring about the clarity [of the conditions] for Phuket Sandbox tourists,” he said.
“This is a world-class issue, but I’m not sure whether we are taking this issue seriously enough,” he concluded.