The yacht, ‘Sapphire’ arrived in Phuket from Australia and was boarded by health officials and Royal Thai Navy personnel from the Third Area Command at Cape Panwa to conduct tests to ensure none of the crew were infected with COVID-19, reported the Third Area Command.
The yacht and its crew are now staying in the holding area designated for arriving yachts at Ao Por, off Phuket’s east coast, where it will remain while the crew complete their mandatory quarantine.
After the crew have completed the 14-day quarantine, the yacht will be moved to moor in Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina, the Navy added.
All 10 on board have been issued “smart wristbands” created under the “Digital Yacht Quarantine” project, developed by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) and AIS, and two other private companies.
The smart wristbands operate on a 900MHz “Narrow band - Internet of Things” (“NB-IoT”) connection that maintains connectivity up to 10km over the sea, AIS Chief Enterprise Business Officer Tanapong Ittisakulchai explained at a press launch for the devices in Bangkok yesterday (Mar 8).
“We also have a cloud platform to be a main network for the NB-IoT Wristband Tracking,” Mr Tanapong said.
Chatchai Tangchittrong, CEO/Co-Founder of PMH Holding Co Ltd noted, “In this project, we have two models, the ‘Activ 10+’ and the ‘Smartwatch Activ 30+’. The two models can be both location trackers and health devices which tourists can wear as wristbands all the time, in order to prevent them from leaving the yachts.
“The wristband has sensors to check tourists’ pulse, blood pressure and body temperature. They also have an option to send SOS signals if tourists urgently need help. All the information from the wristband will be shown on the website dashboard in real time for medical staff,” he explained.
“Smart wristband health-monitoring services we use are the same models that are used for the ‘Hotel Bubble Project’ in the Cayman Islands,” Mr Chatchai said.
In explaining his company’s role in the project, Tanapat Thuatraiphop, CEO of Flow Corporation, said, “We are partnering with Patri Tour Group Co Ltd, which operates Ao Por Pier. We conduct the registration for the NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking and arrange medical staff for monitoring the tourists’ health information.
“This partnering is a new dimension of ‘new normal’ tourism. We are not only improving tourism, but also helping to boost the marine tourism industry throughout the whole Andaman region,” Mr Tanapat said.
Also present at the press conference in Bangkok yesterday was Depa President Asst Prof Dr Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big effect on the Thai economy, and the tourism industry, especially in Phuket, which is a destination dependent on foreign tourists. In 2020, Phuket lost more than B320 billion in [tourism] revenues [due to the pandemic],” Mr Nuttapon said.
“Yacht tourists will receive NB-IoT Wristband Tourist Tracking, which can be a health-monitoring tool during the 14 days of onboard quarantine. It will boost tourists’ confidence and support the public health safety for tourists coming to Phuket, as well as improve the quality of cooperation among tourists, medical staff, and other relevant officers,” he added.
Mr Nuttapon did not elaborate on whether or not the wristband tracking devices will be later used at Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQs) venues throughout the country to prevent any people under quarantine from wandering outside of their quarantine hotels.
Meanwhile, Tanyuta Singhmanee, Managing Director of Asia Pacific Superyachts Co Ltd, representing the Thai Yachting Business Association (TYBA), pointed out to the press in Bangkok, “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our association members lost about 50-60% of their revenues, which are mostly from foreign yacht tourists.
“We have boosted local people and tourists’ confidence about the disease control measures since we started the yacht quarantine in October last year. We have not found any yacht tourists infected so far,” Ms Tanyuta said.
“In 2021, we expect that there will be about 100 yachts, bringing 300-500 tourists, coming to Thailand,” she added.