Thousands of tourists stranded on a trio of Gulf islands

PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

An estimated 10,000 foreign tourists are stranded on three islands in the Gulf of Thailand, more than half of them, around 5,700 on Koh Samui, after passenger flights were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Surat Thani province’s tourism and sports chief Tikamporn Sutti-udomrat, said yesterday that apart from the 5,700 visitors on Koh Samui, there are another 3,300 foreign tourists on Koh Phangan and about 1,000 on Koh Tao.

“They have accommodation, travel and growing expense problems. I have sought help from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.”

There is currently a visa amnesty running for foreigners on Tourist Visas running up to July 30.

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Tikamporn asked local officials and hoteliers to allow the foreigners stay until they are able to leave Surat Thani. His office arranged for accommodation for the foreigners who had urgent problems but they must pass health screenings.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s branch on Koh Samui said that the Turkish embassy in Thailand has chartered a flight with Turkish Airlines to repatriate the stranded Turkish tourists. The flight is scheduled to leave Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport at 6pm today.

There have been many stories of stranded international visitors and tourists being stuck in Thailand waiting out the Covid-19 travel restrictions and closures due to their flights being cancelled or their home countries imposing border closures. These two Russians ended up in a Krabi cave this week. They’ve since been moved into better accommodation in one of the district’s designated ‘safe’ hotels until they can get on a flight home.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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