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Thailand Optimistic on Tourism Recovery As COVID Decreases

Published: September 8, 2021 at 7:44 pm

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Thailand’s tourism sector is currently having a hard time battling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, different government initiatives are anticipated to reverse the situation as flights restart and a more effective vaccine distribution is undertaken.

Tourism and associated industries such as restaurants and air travel have been particularly severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since then, government authorities have taken significant efforts to assist in reviving and transforming such enterprises in order to meet the demand.

The Phuket Sandbox program and Samui Plus program were introduced with the hopes of bringing international tourists back to renowned resort islands in Thailand and subsequently, additional tourist areas.

Under the program, tourists who have been vaccinated are permitted to visit famous island locations without being quarantined.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 cases in Thailand have placed the program, particularly Phuket Sandbox, through a challenging period. The Phuket Sandbox program aims for 100,000 tourists by the 3rd quarter of this year. So far around 26,000 international tourists have arrived. TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn accepts that the goal might be unattainable owing to lower-than-expected visitors from July to August.

However, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn added that the Sandbox program had strengthened the confidence of Thai locals in extending the program to other famous destinations since only 0.3%, or 83 individuals, have tested positive, with the majority being detected at the airport.

TAT announced improvements to its Phuket Sandbox program.  They called it “Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension” which allows fully inoculated tourists to visit various Thai locations without being quarantined.

Starting August 16, 2021, the required stay in Phuket for visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 lowered from 14 to 7 days. After the first seven days, an additional seven days may be spent in chosen locations.

The third wave of COVID-19 infections appears to be reduced with daily new cases reported around 15,000 for several weeks. The government reduced COVID-19 restrictions such as permitting more local travel and dining out, as well as the opening of malls in Bangkok and other high-risk areas.

Simultaneously, local flights between Bangkok and other destinations restarted on September 1, permitting tourists to go outside Phuket.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the government’s spokesman, said that COVID-19 infections should decrease further. The government has purchased more vaccines, bringing the total to 140,000,000 doses by the end of 2021.

Booster jabs or a 3rd shot will also be administered in October to millions of people who have been fully inoculated.

The administration intends to reopen more regions for international tourists. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn reported that 9 locations have been eyed for reopening. Phuket, Krabi. Samui, Krabi, and Phang-Nga are now open. The remaining locations, which include Bangkok, Petchaburi, Prachuap Khirikhan, and Chiang Mai will be determined in the next couple of weeks.

A few days ago, spa businesses in Hua Hin submitted a proposal to the government to open Hua Hin to foreign visitors on October 1 after 80% of the district’s population have been fully inoculated.  The program called “Hua Hin Recharge” will use the same strategy as the Phuket Sandbox program.

Source:  ASEAN Now

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