The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in collaboration with Phuket tourism stakeholders officially marked the countdown to the ‘Phuket Reopening’ day on 1 July, 2021, voicing their commitment to safely reopen Phuket to local and international visitors under the ‘Sandbox’ model.
TAT Governor, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, yesterday flew from Bangkok to Phuket to share a special Facebook Live Stream panel with the island’s tourism stakeholders. Being a fully vaccinated individual, his arrival met Phuket’s latest entry requirements (Order Number 2920/2564) that all arrivals at all points of entry must be fully vaccinated.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “I was required to show proof of my vaccination and undergo all entry requirements in compliance with Phuket’s COVID-19 control measures. This is testament to Phuket’s commitment to reopen the island safely to not just fully vaccinated foreign tourists, but also Thai visitors while maintaining public health safety for everyone living on the island.”
Mr. Yuthasak’s visit was to reassure the reopening plan by providing all travellers with the latest updates on Phuket’s preparations to safely reopen to visitors.
“The ‘Sandbox’ model signifies public health safety for all. Phuket will be the pilot destination to reopen in the third quarter to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from low-risk countries under strict rules and regulations. Safety is paramount in the reopening of Phuket,” Mr. Yuthasak said.
Under the Sandbox model, Phuket plans to safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 for 70% of the island’s population with the number of new COVID-19 cases being close to zero by 30 June, 2021.
Phuket Vice Governor, Mr. Pichet Panapong, said Phuket started the island-wide vaccination from 1 April, 2021, under the plan to inoculate 466,000 people on the island (about 70% of the population), including 300,000 local residents, 100,000 non-residents, and the remaining being foreign residents and migrant workers.
Mr. Pichet said, “As of 1 June, 2021, Phuket’s vaccination programme has reached 54% of the population, mostly among locals and non-residents. Vaccination for foreigners and migrant workers is scheduled on 3 June, 2021. We expect the vaccination to reach 70% of Phuket’s population by 30 June, 2021.”
In addition to the vaccination programme and COVID-19 containment measures, Phuket is also working on landscaping as well as addressing other safety measures; such as, road safety, water transport safety, and similar types of tourists’ safety to safely welcome back all visitors.
Meanwhile, Phuket is the first destination to elevate the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification programme with the Amazing Thailand SHA+ initiative.
Mr. Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, President of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) Southern Chapter, said, “The Amazing Thailand SHA+ logo is awarded to hotel establishments in Phuket where at least 70% of staff are inoculated. Phuket hotels are now ready to welcome back guests.”
Introduced in May 2021, the Amazing Thailand SHA is used to assess 10 types of business; namely, restaurants and diners; hotels, accommodation and homestays; recreational activities and tourist attractions; transportation; travel agencies; health and beauty; department stores and shopping centres; sports for tourism; activities and meetings, theatres and entertainment, and souvenir shops and other shops. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently certified the Amazing Thailand SHA certification in alignment with the WTTC SafeTravels protocols.
Mr. Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, President of the Phuket Tourism Council, added, “When we are talking about reopening Phuket, we are not only talking about Phuket, but we are talking about reopening Thailand. Also, the reopening effort is to welcome back everyone, both local and international visitors, because each and everyone is important to the revival of Thailand’s tourism.”
The TAT Newsroom (www.tatnews.org) will be providing regular updates on Phuket’s preparations to safely reopen to foreign tourists ranging from entry requirements and public health procedures to local vaccinations and hygiene standards.
Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, said, “The TAT Newsroom has been a trusted source of English language tourism-related news and updates in Thailand for two decades since 2001. Foreign embassies and news networks have placed their confidence in the TAT Newsroom over the years.
“Therefore, for the reopening of Phuket, the TAT Newsroom will also be the centre for accurate information and will provide regular news and updates as soon as further official information becomes available.”