Tourism in Phuket May Reopen Oct 1 – Tourism Ministry
Published: August 18, 2020 at 9:38 am
The government is discussing measures that can potentially reopen parts of Phuket to foreign tourism by October 1.
Photo By: Ben Reeves
In what could be seen as a ray of hope for Thailand’s ailing tourism industry, the Minister of Tourism and Sports announced that it is possible for foreign tourism to resume in the island of Phuket by October 1.
Earlier this month, Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, together with Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, held a meeting with representatives of the private sector.
During the meeting, the Association of Thai Travel Agents presented what it called the “Safe and Sealed” travel plan.
Intended to be a proposed replacement to the ill-fated travel bubble arrangements with China, South Korea and Japan, the “Safe and Sealed” plan aims to gather and invite tourists to come to Thailand from cities and provinces abroad that are considered safe from COVID-19.
These locations need to be COVID-free for at least the past 60 days.
These tourists will be taken to select destinations without quarantine, but their movements will be limited to within their destinations and accommodations.
In addition, they will need to procure a medical certificate indicating that the holder has tested negative for COVID-19. The test has to be taken at least 72 hours prior to the departure date, and they must agree to another swab test upon arrival.
Minister Phiphat will be presenting the plan in a joint meeting on August 27th with the Public Health, Interior, Foreign and Transport ministries.
Once these ministries agree on the plan, it will be forwarded to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration or CCSA for its final approval.
The government will most likely introduce new economic measures after it has gauged the results of the “We Travel Together” campaign through the end of this month.
The “We Travel Together” campaign is a stimulus package that the government made available for locals to boost domestic tourism while foreign tourism, a major source of revenues, remains closed due to the travel ban.
Speaking on the restrictions on the tourists’ movement, Minister Phiphat suggests that a 1-kilometer to 2-kilometer beach front be set aside for the exclusive of the tourists while they are on their 14-day quarantine. He also suggests to make this beach close to the villas tapped as state quarantine facilities.
He also urged the government to speak to people and businesses near the selected area to gauge their willingness to reopen to foreign tourism.
The minister said that they in the government must find more means for the economy to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
The Tourism and Sports Minister has also met with the economic policy team last week during the meeting convened by the Centre for Economic Situation Administration.
Minister Phiphat said he has discussed the THB100 billion fund requested by tourist-related businesses with Finance Minister Predee Daochai. This matter will be discussed in a separate meeting with the new economic center and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand will be conducting a survey with locals to gauge their response to the proposed limited reopening of Phuket to tourism.