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PM puts focus on tourism

BANGKOK: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will today (June 4) chair a meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) and discuss a detailed plan to drive the reopening of the country’s tourism industry.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 4 June 2021, 08:57AM

Prayut: Wants to boost economy. Photo: Bangkok Post

Prayut: Wants to boost economy. Photo: Bangkok Post

The meeting via video-conference will also discuss economic stimulus and investment-promoting measures, reports the Bangkok Post.

Details and progress to prepare to reopen the country’s key tourist destinations in provinces that will take part in the pilot phase will be presented and discussed at today’s meeting, along with those of other economic stimulus and investment promotion measures, said government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri on Thursday.

New measures designed to boost confidence among foreign investors in Thailand’s real-estate sector will also be among the investment promotion measures to be rolled out, he said.

Before the pandemic, the Thai tourism industry saw 40 million visitors annually, generating revenue of about B2 trillion a year.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that from Oct 1, 10 provinces seen as popular tourist destinations will not have to impose COVID-19 quarantines on visitors.

The provinces are Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Chon Buri, Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phang Nga and Buri Ram.

The combined tourism income of these 10 provinces in 2019 stood at B1.5trn and that was the reason why they have been selected to join the pilot reopening programme, to run from Oct 1 until Dec 31.

However, while the government appears confident in the planned tourism reopening that will begin with Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ programme, tourism operators on the resort island cast doubts over whether the launch on July 1 is possible.

The government agencies involved in the Phuket reopening do not appear to be ready for the reopening yet while there are only 28 days left until its launch, said Bhummikitti Raktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, on Thursday.

“The problem is we have been asked a lot lately by interested parties in other countries as to what the exact conditions of this tourism programme are. But we cannot really answer these questions even though there are just 28 days left,” he said.

UWC Thailand

“If things are still left so unclear, the Phuket sandbox won’t likely happen as planned,” he said.

Despite the call by Phuket’s tourism business operators for a waiver of quarantine for tourists who visit Phuket after having already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the government first said the quarantine period would be lowered to seven days. However, it later switched back to 14 days, he said.

What local tourism business operators now need the most is clarity from all government agencies, he said.

Whether or not Phuket will be able to reopen to international tourists again as planned will depend not only on Phuket itself but the entire country and the rest of the world, said Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, meanwhile, explained that although the COVID-19 quarantine period has been changed back to 14 days following flare-ups in COVID-19 infections in several parts of the country, it will still be possible to implement the Phuket Sandbox model.

Tourists from low-risk countries who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still be able to enter Phuket and remain there for 14 days before they are allowed to travel on to other destinations in the country, he said.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean these tourists will have to be stuck in Phuket for 14 days if they don’t want to, as those who want to stay for a shorter period and leave the country will be allowed to do so as well, he said.

As of Wednesday, about 60% of of the target 466,587 of Phuket’s population had been injected with a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 98,795 had received their second shot, he said.

A total of 376,427 have registered for the vaccination drive, he said.

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Kurt | 05 June 2021 - 12:23:29

As a Phuket holiday is for a European very, very expensive this coming months I can't imagine that there are persons among them challenging their Phuket arrival with fake Covid certificates. Guess the Phuket Immigration is not that stupid not to notice 'fake'.

Nasa12 | 05 June 2021 - 09:26:00

Wondering how Thailand should verify that tourists have been vaccinated, in Europe it is flooded with fake covid certificates.

Dave_C | 05 June 2021 - 07:50:04

As far as I can work out the Phuket sandbox will be primarily for Chinese and Russians. The Chinese will only stay for 4 days,
Lack of clarity will be an ongoing problem holding back Thailand.
The government needs to come clean also on Astra Zeneca and explain that the local production has been committed to other countries.
Overall total confusion rules including the use of a substandard vaccin

sdcapex | 05 June 2021 - 04:53:33

I just read that for the Sandbox, those intending to visit other provinces must stay in an SHA hotel for 14 days.  However those only visiting Phuket (fully vaccinated) have no minimum  stay required. That is interesting wording. Wouldn’t have been easier to say that those who aren’t visiting other provinces are NOT REQUIRED to stay in a SHA hotel? The but maybe that’s just me?

Kurt | 04 June 2021 - 11:16:00

....Phuket reopening is a pure Phuket matter. 'De rest of the world' has no say in that. It is pure Phuket Officialdom's responsibility with the Governor as the top person at the 'opening helm' to executive per 1 July what they trumpet and drum. Start to stop that quarantine flip flopping ( 14 to 7, and 14 days again), that will a good substantial thing in selling 're-openi...

Kurt | 04 June 2021 - 11:06:13

'Reopening' talks and realizing it are 2 different things. Government agencies appear not to be ready for it? No clarity, and doubts among the operators who have to realize the 1 july opening in les than 27 days? Even the Phuket Governor shuffles backward now by saying that opening Phuket is also depend on Thailand and the rest of the world. Which is nonsense. Phuket reopening  ...

Nasa12 | 04 June 2021 - 09:42:01

Well a look at tv news in my country in Scandinavia last night, and Government say no travel to any country outside Eu, before all the like TH have over 70% full vaccine. And now one can buy a travel insurance for travel outside EU. 

agogohome | 04 June 2021 - 09:37:29

Spreading the misinformation a little further! 
Governor Yuthasak Supasorn doesn't even know how many days tourists have to spend on Phuket, before being allowed to leave the province. All other sources of information, say 7 days, not 14! 


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