The provincial government of Phuket has proclaimed its readiness to accept foreign tourists under the “Phuket Model” of the “Safe and Sealed” plan, which is set to kick off on the 1st of October.
On Tuesday, the Provincial Public Health Office of Phuket released its guidelines for potential tourists to follow as well as for public health officials to be guided with. Called the “4T Model”, the guidelines address, in principle, the following concerns:
Target – the province must establish a specific quota on the number of foreigners to be let in
Testing – the tourist must be able to undergo an initial COVID-19 test in their home country, and must test negative
Tracing – the province must develop a contact tracing app to track movements of the tourists and attain early warning of infections
Treatment – the province must set protocols for addressing any eventual case of infection
The Provincial Public Health Office also stressed that social distancing and face masks would remain mandatory for both locals and tourists, even after the island is gradually reopened to foreign tourism.
On the other hand, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has entered into negotiations with four ministries for the possibility to expand the soft reopening set for October 1.
According to reports, the Minister is floating around the proposal of opening not only Phuket, but also Samui and the Phi-Phi Islands.
The Minister says that, should the proposal be approved, the same public health measures already determined for the “Phuket Model” will also be applied to the two other destinations.
Under the Minister’s version of the private sector’s “Safe and Sealed” plan, selected tourists will be brought to a pre-selected destination, in this case, Phuket. They will be quarantined to their hotel facilities for 14 days, with Minister Phiphat recommending that the entire zone around a hotel or a chain of hotels be sealed to allow quarantined tourists to get access to the beach.
Requirements include a fit to fly certificate, and a certificate of a negative COVID-19 result from their home country’s health authority.
Upon arrival, they will undergo another test before they are allowed to travel to their selected alternative state quarantine hotel. There, they will be subjected to another swab test, and one last test before the end of their two-week quarantine.
They will then be able to travel around the province in which they have chosen to travel.
Hotel staff who attend to these tourists are also required to follow public health safety standards, like wearing Personal Protective Equipment, and mandatory quarantine.
The government is yet to publish official details on who can travel to Thailand, which countries they would come from, and when eligible tourists can sign up for the tourism package.
The months of October until March are considered to be the high seasons of tourism in Thailand, on which most of its economy is reliant. Minister Phiphat, in his proposal, says that a potential 2 million foreign tourists could come and visit during the high season if the government approves the reopening of the three destinations.