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Recently reopened, Koh Samet suffers cancellations after the news of Egyptian soldier

Jack Burton



Recently reopened, Koh Samet suffers cancellations after the news of Egyptian soldier | The Thaiger
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News that an Egyptian soldier who visited a shopping centre in the eastern Rayong province tested positive for Covid-19 has prompted a spate of cancellations for the recently reopened resort island of Koh Samet. Despite its distance (about 30 kilometres) from Rayong City where the Egyptian air crew were staying, island hotels have seen massive cancellations in the wake of the incident, upending the long awaited and much needed return of tourism. One operator says…

“On Samet we were so strict with social distancing measures. But one person destroyed the entire province.”

He says he’s lost more than a million baht in operational costs since Koh Samet was closed to visitors on March 25. Hotels and restaurants only reopened on July 1. He reckons as much as 30% of hotels and restaurants went out of business for good during the 98 day closure.

“Everyone lost trust in coming here. We’re so far offshore and not actually a risky area, because the Egyptian did not come here.”

Many travellers have cancelled their reservations across the entire province of Rayong following the incident.

The president of the Koh Samet Tourism Association says it was government officials who neglected proper quarantine procedures, and the private sector now has to bear the consequences.

“The government let their guard down, even though citizens like us were fully on guard. Tourism operators waited for months to reopen. We haven’t even been reopened for a month before everything went to heck. Everyone is struggling and lacking income because the government was sloppy and gave privileges to foreigners, resulting in disaster. Who will take responsibility for this?”

“Almost 100% of my guests are gone. People are panicking and cancelling. We lost so much money since we closed for 98 days. When we opened July 1 we were able to breathe a bit with 10 days of tourists. Now everything is dark. If a second wave ripples out from Rayong, Samet will be completely destroyed. I don’t know what to do.”

“The entire island tried so hard to build our reputation. The government must find a way to help. All the islanders are affected and it’s the government’s fault.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.



  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    July 15, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    I “lost trust” in going there the last time.
    A private run ferry intercepts tourists before they find the cheaper public ferry, and charge the passengers more.
    Many do not know there is a cheaper public ferry = they hide the sign.
    At the island I had to pay B200. Thais paid I think B50.
    The prices were sky high for anything.
    I paid a visiting tour boat to take me back to the mainland after only one and a half hours.
    I have never been back, and never will.
    Do not go.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    July 15, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Luckily the Island is surrounded by waters teeming with fish.
    Out you go at midnight fishing and forget the great times when the mug foreigners were so easy to loot.
    You stupid peasants.

  3. Avatar


    July 16, 2020 at 4:28 am

    Complete overreaction for a single infected individual……people need to start living with COVID-19 around and the media need to back off like the PM says or there will be much much more people suffering from starvation and becoming poor. Yes COVID-19 must be avoided but the media need to look at the bigger picture before they are reporting…..

  4. Avatar


    July 16, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    toby, geez. take your toxicity elsewhere. you know you only have one life, right? do you want to die angry and confused?

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    July 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    If you don’t like my truth moron don’t read my posts.
    What do you have to say that is constructive?
    All you do is belly ache about other posts.
    Comment about the news item or shut up!

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