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Phuket tourists to arrive ‘after Veg Fest’, confirms Governor

Phuket tourists to arrive ‘after Veg Fest’, confirms Governor

PHUKET: The first tourists to arrive in the country since the COVID-19 lockdown began will not arrive tomorrow (Oct 8), the Phuket Governor has confirmed.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 7 October 2020, 11:20AM

Governor Narong Woonciew broke the news this morning (Oct 7) during his daily video Facebook broadcast. Screenshot: PR Phuket / Facebook

Governor Narong Woonciew broke the news this morning (Oct 7) during his daily video Facebook broadcast. Screenshot: PR Phuket / Facebook

Governor Narong Woonciew broke the news this morning (Oct 7) during his daily video Facebook broadcast.

The confirmation was obscured amid his promotion of the upcoming Vegetarian Festival and praise for the preparations made by officials and shrine administrators to ensure the festival complies with COVID-19 prevention measures.

Governor Narong said that the delay in allowing tourists to come was due to local people’s fears that foreign tourists will bring the COVID-19 virus to Phuket, and possibly spur a second wave of infections.

“I have already requested that foreigners arrive after the Vegetarian Festival ends. 

The decision was made to make people feel more comfortable [with tourists arriving],” he said.

Governor Narong did not clarify when he requested the delay for foriegn tourists to be allowed to land in Phuket, and he did not confirm when the first tourists were expected to arrive.

However, sitting at the same table during the broadcast, Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) deputy chief Dr Krit Sakulpat assured that “when Phuket receives tourists, we will have the correct processes to prevent [COVID-19] from spreading”.

He repeated this message several times.

Governor Narong explained that allowing the Vegetarian Festival to go ahead this year took a lot of discussion and was a decision not made lightly.

“Many Thais from other provinces will come to the festival, and there were concerns that foreigners coming to watch the festival may bring the virus to Phuket,” he said.

“I thank the Phuket shrines for their efforts to comply with the health protection measures needed. The decision whether or not to hold the festival was reconsidered again and again. It took a long time to think about [whether or not to hold] the Vegetarian Festival this year, but it will go ahead because it is a part of Phuket’s traditions,” Governor Narong said.

The news this morning follows Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn explaining to the press in Bangkok last Thursday (Oct 1) that a group of 150 Chinese nationals, all entering the country on the new Special Tourist Visa (STV), will be the first foreign tourists allowed into Thailand on a chartered flight under the conditional entry scheme for selected groups of foreigners, endorsed by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Mr Phipat explained the group will fly directly to Phuket on a chartered Air Asia flight, adding that another, smaller, group of seven Chinese businessmen will arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport on a private jet on the same day, reported state news agency NNT, operated by the Public Relations Department of Thailand.

It also follows the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office coordinating with local airlines to provide more flights to Phuket during the coming Vegetarian Festival from Oct 17-25, with the hope of boosting the number of tourists coming to the island.

Under the ‘new normal’ protocols, street processions during the festival will be held, but ‘Mah Song’ spirit mediums are to travel in vehicles and crowd control will be enforced.

Also, some of the main ceremonies have been banned, Phuket Vice Governor Wongsakorn Nunchukan confirmed late last month.

Also banned this year will be many of the ceremonial ablutions of faith and flesh – including fire-walking, bladed-ladder climbing, hot oil bathing and nail-bridge crossing.


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Scott Meikle | 08 October 2020 - 17:09:32

Can you help by telling the Thai authorities to tell their people that they have more chance of getting seriously ill and or dying in a traffic accident. They are killing their economy for no real reason. Open up with just tests to fly and on arrival. Covid is not a dread disease. Many cases but 95% don't even get very ill. 90% minimal or no symptoms. Only3% die, mostly those who will die anyw...

Jor12 | 08 October 2020 - 12:33:21

K..."we all know?" I didn't know. It can't be a spelling mistake because it was written twice. The whole piece was grammatically incorrect. Write in MSWord or Notepad first to proof read and spellcheck then paste here. Don't be lazy.  Why does PN have to pander to lazy people.

Nasa12 | 08 October 2020 - 09:02:26

@Kurt. You are absolutely right PN should open up the possibility and correct typing errors again.  And I neither answer nor comment to that man, and no one should do that either.

chokdee | 08 October 2020 - 03:13:30

When are they going realize it was China who brought in Covid 19. The wealthy Chinese are not going to help the local Thai people it is the Europeans and other countries who faithfully have been coming for years. Putting people in expensive hotels for quarantine is not helping the local people.
What happened to wearing a mask and being outside. what Are you doing to the thai people 

Kurt | 08 October 2020 - 02:04:30

@ Nasa12. We all know your 'ho' was a typing error. We all understand there was no reason for someone to react negative and put you down for it. I make typing errors to. Perhaps PN can re-activate  the correction button, so we can correct our own type errors and avoid reactions of persons who just obsessed reacting by other peoples mistakes in comments? It spoils the comment section. 

ThorFinger | 07 October 2020 - 20:52:52

Of course covid will come in. You only delay by locking down. Thai has done extremely well in having covid rapid response units. When infection comes, isolate and protect old people. Remember only very old and sick people die. I am 59 and have 0.557% chance. I'm far more likely to die on thai roads. 

JSombra | 07 October 2020 - 17:56:13

He 'requested' nothing. Beijing embassy has been closed for last week for golden week, neither interior or foreign ministry's are playing ball with health or TAT, they obviously have had enough of their stupid, overly complicated plans that seem primarily designed to enrich a small set of people, especially health sector. 

Suggest people take a look at KSE article as has a very impo...

Lu | 07 October 2020 - 16:21:01

No comment 8=)))  oh sorry now a word occurs to me...inability.

DeKaaskopp | 07 October 2020 - 15:47:36

@ Nasa12     And "ho" is paying for it ? Or you mean a "ho" is paying for it ?

Kurt | 07 October 2020 - 13:24:40

Governor afraid that foreigners bring Covid-19 to Phuket during Veg Festival. So, they are not welcome.
And after the Veg festival foreigners can arrive, than 'we' are not afraid they will spread the Covid-19? Is that the thinking? Better continue to keep bars, clubs,  and (weekend-) markets, large shopping centres closed for foreigners until far 'ahead' until fear has really gone...

goldwing | 07 October 2020 - 12:27:07

when will they admit, these are Chinese business men looking to rip off struggling businesses in Phuket, They are not Tourists

Nasa12 | 07 October 2020 - 12:09:47

For a big lying this 7 people coming up whit, and ho pay the charter flight for this Chinese and ho pay for this hotel for quarantine ? It’s a BIG lying from day 1.

LALALA | 07 October 2020 - 12:04:22

This governour is the same full of BS than all others before him....delay because the fear of phukey people...LOL...remember the article some days ago when locals praised the fact that tourist will arrive ? LOS government are nothing else then a useless bunch of ... [edited]


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