As the province continues to deal with the effects of the pandemic on the province’s economy, private businesses and the provincial government have come together to brainstorm ideas on how they can rehabilitate Phuket’s economy as well as ways how they can bring back foreign tourism to the island.
One of these suggestions is to allow vaccinated tourists, with proper documentation, to be able to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement when entering the island.
Thanusak Phungdet, Chamber of Commerce President, also suggested to restaurants in the island to create new dishes that they can use to market Phuket as a culinary paradise. He also called on the provincial government of Governor Narong Woonciew to put forth measures that will keep fares for public transport as low as possible.
Mr. Thanusak also proposed a joint marketing campaign that will standardize rates for accommodation in the island.
In addition to these suggestions, the attendees of the meeting have pledged to exert the necessary efforts towards the rehabilitation of the island. The project is expected to last around nine months, just enough time to prepare the island for a possible return of foreign tourists by October this year.
Mr. Thanusak urged the attendees to call on Governor Narong to allow the return of international tourists to Phuket by October 1.
However, the participants also called on the implementation of public health measures to keep both tourists and locals safe from another possible outbreak.
President of Phuket Tourist Association Bhummikitti Raktaengan said that the locals must first be immunized against the COVID-19. A 70% vaccination rate is acceptable, he said.
Also, foreign tourists need to secure COVID-19 vaccination before they can enter the Kingdom and then Phuket in particular. This will entitle them to skip the mandatory quarantine otherwise required by the government.
Federation of Phuket Industries President Chernporn Karnjanasaya also proposed to restaurant owners and food-related entrepreneurs to add more halal food to their menus. This is to attract Muslim tourists from the southern area of the Kingdom.
Deputy Phuket governor Pichet Panapong, who was also present during the meeting, said that the provincial government will take into account the suggestions of the private sector. He also stressed the importance of effectively executing the recovery plans, or else the island will not be adequately prepared for the return of foreign tourism.
He also pointed out that locals are already entering the province without being quarantined for 40 days.
“Phuket has already allowed people from other provinces in without quarantine to keep the local economy afloat, except Samut Sakhon,” he said.
The participants will also be planning a roadshow to promote the island’s tourism offerings to locals as well. The roadshow will visit Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Udon Thani, and Bangkok.
The national government based in Bangkok has previously rejected the World Health Organization’s vaccine passport scheme, stating that there is insufficient data that the current vaccines for COVID-19 can effectively stop the transmission of the virus particularly the new variants.