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Hua Hin’s reopening in doubt

Jack Arthur

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PHOTO: yukio hagakure/Flickr

Hua Hin may not be reopening next month after all. Businesses and local communities have expressed their reservations about the reopening, saying they fear Hua Hin could repeat the same mistake as the Phuket sandbox programme, says the Prachuap Khiri Khan chamber of commerce. The seaside district had previously established a timeline to kickstart their tourism sector with no quarantine requirements starting in October. The commerce is dubious that the plan will be able to proceed.

Honorary adviser to the chamber, Niphon Suwannawa, says Hua Hin will be unable to go back to business in October. Niphon lay some of the blame at the feet of residents, saying they lacked the will to participate in the push to reopen. The adviser adds that most hotels and restaurants lack the time and money to modify their operations to fulfil the stricter public health requirements and standards. Also, the government may encounter obstacles enforcing the new Covid curbing rules.

Niphon says the district has concerns that if they hastily reopened, they could repeat the mistake of the Phuket Sandbox programme, launched back in July. Phuket had established tight control measures to prevent the spread of Covid but still notched hundreds of new Covid cases. He then pointed at the border of the province, which is near Myanmar, as a potential trouble spot. Niphon says there is a chance that illegal migrant workers will sneak into the country in order to work in pineapple factories or at construction sites. He says some of these work-seekers could carry and transmit Covid. Niphon concluded his remarks by saying vaccines are needed to combat the rising tide of new variants.

Vice president of the Thai Hotels Association, Udom Srimahachota, says he doesn’t see Hua Hin encountering the same problem that the Phuket Sandbox programme has encountered. He says that if restrictions, like the ones imposed in Phuket, were imposed in Hua Hin, Thai tourists would avoid the district. This would strongly affect the district as 75% of Hua Hin’s visitors are Thai, says Udom.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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