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

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Accelerated vaccination plan for Phuket, Koh Samui recommended by tourism sector | Thaiger
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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    GeorgeA

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Who cares what the tourism sector recommends? It only matters what the government actually does, and so far, they have done absolutely nothing to attract anybody.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    “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.”

    Since the signatories must already be very well aware that none of the major manufacturers are supplying vaccines commercially this is posturing to justify their position, nothing more.

  3. Avatar

    Matt Miran

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Any length quarantine = NO TOURISTS

    Smart opening with vaccinated tourists = +$$$

    Not a difficult equation!

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 12:24 am

    It’s been reported you are only required to stay in Phuket for 7 days before being allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand. Makes sense since they have already decided to reduce the quarantine from 14 to 7 days for vaccinated tourists. That works for me since I’m not a big Phuket fan and would prefer to spend most of my holiday somewhere else. Still many questions remain concerning things like types of testing, acceptable vaccine manufacturers, timing of vaccinations, insurance requirements and such. However it’s starting too look good.

  5. Avatar

    the man the myth the lengend

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 12:55 am

    how about hua hin? will that be open? why not open now?

  6. Avatar

    the man the myth the lengend

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 12:58 am

    yeah I am not a big phukett fan as well. I live in the Philippines and its locked down there so I will travel to Thailand again, even though Vietnam is better. I will NOT stay one day in quarantine, I am vaccinated and have had the wuhan flu before and it is NOTHING. A healthy person with low BMI (all thailanders and Vietnamese) have nothing to worry about, hence the low numbers.

  7. Avatar

    Clive G

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 2:47 am

    Time will tell, but I think Thailand should be very careful about the vaccination, especially what vaccines they choose. Israel has carried out mass vaccinations, yet their transmission rates Are increasing. The mRNA vaccines alter your immune response making you more infectious and likely to pass the virus to others for a six week period. This is not unheard-of with other vaccines, for example, have you ever wondered why the insert in the chickenpox vaccine tells you to stay away from pregnant women for six weeks.

  8. Avatar

    Coconuts

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Travellers will NOT come to Thailand if their home countries require them to quarantine on return, so Thailand can keep planning and changing plans and announcing plans until the cows come home, it will just not see the mass tourists it is hoping for. The whole tourism industry should just accept this fact by now and move on – this industry is NOBODY’s priority until the pandemic is controlled. Thailand’s reliance on tourism is a bullet in the brain and it needs to pivot away from low hanging fruit.

  9. Avatar

    DRJ

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 8:53 am

    If after a year there are still those who think ( hope ) that opening up to tourists should only be based 100% safety guarantees, then those individuals must have been living in a fantasy bubble. I would also bet that they are wealthy individuals unaffected by the lack of tourism in Thailand.
    Vaccinate the vulnerable on those islands and use the regions as your insurance policy.7 days later those who are Covid19 free can travel to the rest of the country. No genius required for that one

  10. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 10:50 am

    “It’s been reported you are only required to stay in Phuket for 7 days before being allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand. Makes sense …”

    The only people it “makes sense” for, Ed V, are the vaccinated tourists and those vaccinated on Phuket.

    For the rest – 99% of the population – it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Even the AZ vaccine is, at best, their figure, only 76% effective at stopping asymptomatic infection and transmission – so 24% ineffective.

    Even taking best case scenarios, with the inaccuracy of the rapid test this will mean up to 20 infectious cases arriving per day if numbers are only 10% of 2019 arrivals – that’s not 20 potentially infectious cases, but 20 infectious cases.

    The backlash for Thai tourism and the Thai economy if that happens will set Thailand back years.

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket

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16 more Covid infections reported today in Phuket | Thaiger
iTrip.com

Phuket is reporting 16 more infections today. It follows visits from Bangkok and last weekend’s Kolour Beachside parties that have resulted in a number of new Covid infections. The number of new infections has reached 26. But deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee says the province has been successful in containing the new outbreak “due to its quick response measures which now include shuttering bars and nightlife venues.

One of the confirmed cases is a male teacher from Headstart International School in Kathu who, after attending the parties on the weekend, was back teaching students on Monday and Tuesday. The school has sent a letter to all parents advising them of the situation and organising testing for anyone who may have come in contact with the teacher.

The closure order in Phuket comes just as the island province was expecting to get an influx of visitors for Songkran, the Thai New Year. Many bar and club owners were expecting some increased traffic during the holiday week. Phuket officials say they will explain to bar and club owners why they decided to close the venues during the critical week for business.

Vikrom previously cited the start of the island’s Covid vaccine roll-out of Covid starting to head towards a herd immunity in time for the province’s proposed July reopening to international tourists. But he admitted that the sudden appearance of the coronavirus on the island again will force officials to reevaluate the schedule for reopening. He also said that almost all cases were in younger age groups of people in their 20s and 30s.

“Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases. We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions.”

Partygoers who went to any of the Kolour Beachside parties in Phuket last weekend are being asked to visit a local hospital for a Covid test. The parties hosted more than 3,000 people, drawing concern after a musician tested positive for Covid-19, having attended all 3 parties. The Phuket Provincial Government and Phuket Provincial Public Health Office released a statement yesterday advising all partygoers to get tested.

“Those who attended the Kolour parties from April 2 to 3 at Shelter Phuket Dance & Night Club in Patong, Cafe Del Mar Phuket in Kamala and Illuzion nightclub on Bangla Road in Patong are asked to get tested.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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