As the country prepares to launch “The Phuket Model” for foreign tourism reopening in October, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has jumpstarted a training campaign to prepare businesses and their staff to operate in the post-COVID era.
Dubbed as the “White Vest” campaign, the training will instill in businesses the protocols for public health and safety with a focus on hygiene and safety, as well as enhance their skills to achieve world-class service for tourism.
Other fields included in the training are general management, accounting, capital management, and hospitality.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports said that the White Vest training campaign will form part of the government’s initiatives to prepare the tourism sector to once again receive foreign tourists for the first time since the ban imposed in April.
According to the TAT’s press release, the campaign will focus on businesses and workers that come into direct contact with tourists. As opposed to previous quality improvement campaigns in the past, the White Vest campaign will include retail vendors, proprietors of beach chair rentals, and parking personnel.
Businesses who finish the workshops will be certified with a badge, and a white vest. The vest, the Ministry said, will signify to tourists that the business’ staff has been trained in providing hygiene and safety in a post-COVID tourism industry.
As part of their travel packages, tourists will receive advice from the government to seek out white vests as much as possible for their own safety.
The TAT will announce schedules for the workshops, which will all be held in key tourism destinations in the Kingdom.
The Safe and Sealed plan is part of the government’s push to reopen Thailand to foreign tourism. Originally proposed by the private sector to Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the plan calls for tourists to come to Thailand from cities and provinces around the world that have not seen a local case of COVID-19 for 60 days.
As part of public health and safety procedures, all tourists are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in alternate state quarantine hotels, and periodic COVID-19 testing to allow the government to monitor their health.
After 14 days, they will be allowed to visit the various destinations in Phuket. They also have the option to travel further to other places in Thailand, provided that they undergo another 7-day quarantine.
The Ministry hopes to expand the Phuket Model to other provinces in the near future.
In addition to the healthcare industry’s objections, the Phuket Model has also recently seen opposition from tourist businesses in the province of Phuket.
Patong Mayor Chalermark Kebsap stated that smaller hotels and businesses are at a disadvantage in the current arrangement under the Model.
Phuket’s local Chamber of Commerce also said that the Phuket Model is actually at odds with the local government’s 4T program. The Chamber also said that the government must first limit the type of tourists to those who expect to stay in Phuket for a long time, instead of the types who just want to stay for a couple weeks and would want to move on to another province or destination.