The 7+7 sandbox island expansion plan seems to be on track to begin this month, with registration for COE or certificates of entry for immunized visitors expected to open on August 15.
The project aims to increase foreign tourism by using the Phuket sandbox and Samui Plus initiatives.
President of Krabi Tourism Council Charintip Tiyaphorn said the first batch of foreign travelers in the 7+7 program would arrive in Krabi by boat on August 22 after completing 7-day excursions in Phuket.
The “Krabi Even More Amazing” reopening project includes Koh Ngai, Koh Phi Phi, and Railay Bay, which have all reported few to zero COVID-19 infections, and locals have been completely vaccinated.
Along with Krabi, additional 7+7 island-hopping locations include Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Samui in Surat Thani, as well as Koh Yao Yai, Khao Lak, and Koh Yao Noi in Phangnga.
The program was initially slated to begin on August 1 but was delayed due to increased local COVID-19 cases on Koh Samui and Phuket.
A committee of CCSA approved the 7+7 plan yesterday, but the CCSA still needs to approve the proposal at its next meeting on August 11.
According to Ms. Charintip, TAT or Tourism Authority of Thailand is cooperating with Phuket tourism operators to establish the SHA+ Booking Authentication System (SHABA) for businesses in Krabi to book tourists.
SHABA is the back-end technology used by Safety and Health Administration Plus accredited hotels to handle visitor reservations and payments.
She said that guests interested in participating in the 7+7 island-hopping plan must apply for a new kind of COE, which will be available starting August 15 since they would be required to book accommodations in advance.
Before that date, all applicants must adhere to the exact 14-day minimum stay requirement in the Phuket sandbox.
President of Koh Samui Tourism Association, Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, said the island was ready to join the 7+7 extension project with Krabi and Phangnga on the same date.