Mr Phiphat revealed the news at the “SMEs New Normal” event held at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok yesterday (Aug 20).
During his speech to attendees at the event, Mr Phiphat said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had approved Phuket travel bubbles to begin from Oct 1.
He added that he hoped to do the same in main tourism provinces in other regions.
Minister Phiphat explained that at the latest meeting of the newly formed "Center for Economic Situation Administration” on Wednesday (Aug 19), the committee unanimously agreed to open Phuket as the first destination in the travel bubble campaign and called the procedures to be set as the “Phuket Model”.
“I have been explaining for the past three months that we need foreign tourists to come to the country in September or October. I presented Oct 1 to be the first day to let foreigners come to Phuket, and the PM has already approved to do so.” Mr Phiphat said.
Minister Phiphat further explained that tourists arriving in travel bubbles will not be permitted to venture outside specified areas for at least 14 days.
“For example, on the well-known Patong Beach, there may be three or four good hotels located near each other. Tourists will be allowed to go to certain areas around the hotel, but not more than one kilometre, and they must stay in the area for 14 days.
“After the 14 days, if they want to go out of Phuket, they have to stay in the hotel for seven more days,” he said.
“Before coming to Thailand, they [tourists] have to be tested first, and they will be tested again on the last day of the 14-day quarantine. If they want to go out of Phuket, they will be tested again on the 21st day of quarantine,” he explained.
“Not only will the foreign tourists have to stay within the specified areas, but also hotel and restaurant staff [serving the foreign tourists]. If they leave the area, they will have to self-quarantine at their place for 14 days.” he added.
“The Prime Minister also asked me to research and choose six main provinces in each region to open up for travel bubbles, like Phuket. The main provinces may be Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, Chonburi, Ratchaburi and Krabi,” Mr Phiphat explained.
“However, one very important thing is the acceptance and readiness of local people. We have to listen to the local people’s opinions first before doing anything,” he said.
Minister Phiphat together with officers from the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Interior will inspect Phuket on Sept 5-6 to check the island’s readiness, Mr Phiphat noted.