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Accelerated vaccination plan for Phuket, Koh Samui recommended by tourism sector



Photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

Those in Thailand’s tourism and airline industries are pushing for an accelerated vaccination plan for Phuket and Koh Samui as well as for those in those in the tourism sector. With Phuket set to reopen under the “sandbox” model in July, tourism and airline representatives also ask for a clear timeline for reopening the country to foreign travellers.

In a letter to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, 8 organisations in the tourism and airline industries voiced their support for the new “sandbox” travel model planned for Phuket, and possibly Koh Samui. The scheme will allow foreign visitors vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel to specific tourist destinations in Thailand that have reached herd immunity.

The organisations are pushing for the vaccinations in Phuket and Koh Samui to be accelerated and propose that at least 70% of the population on the Phuket and Koh Samui to be inoculated between April 15 and June 30.

Globally, many countries are expected to reach herd immunity by the end of August, a trend that the tourism and airline representatives say “bodes well for Thailand’s tourism sector.

According to a survey by travel agencies, many vaccinated tourists expressed their interest in visiting Thailand, as soon as quarantine requirements are lifted. Such survey results suggest that even if Thailand were to reduce mandatory quarantine to seven days, the shortened quarantine period would still be enough to dissuade potential visitors from traveling to Thailand.

Achieving herd immunity will enhance the safety in welcoming travelers from abroad.

By June, around 1 million people in the tourism and service sectors, such as hotel staff and airline crew, should be vaccinated, the organisations propose.

They also ask that the government allow the private sector to be involved in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines to help acquire the supplies and expedite distribution.

The letter was signed by presidents and representatives from the Tourism Council of Thailand, Thai Hotels Association, Pacific Asia Travel Association Thailand, Thai Travel Agents, Airlines Association of Thailand, International Air Transport Association, Board of Airline Representatives and Thai Spa Association.


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