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Koh Samui aims for quarantine-free travel starting in October



Koh Samui is aiming to offer quarantine-free travels for vaccinated visitors to the southern gulf island. Joining Phuket, the island is expected to be the first area in Surat Thani to test such quarantine-free entries for tourists as it features its own airport. Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, the president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, says he is hopeful that Samui will join other worldwide destinations in recapturing tourists.

“Koh Samui wants to grab tourist demand as there are many destinations globally that require no quarantine.”

He says the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao can develop their own entry standards after people arrive in Samui, as they are both second stops from the main tourist island in the gulf, and are reachable by short ferry trips.

Ratchaporn is allaying fears from locals as he insists there mustn’t be any opposition to the plan. Samui is joining the tourism “sandbox,” which is a new programme to speed up the reopening process before the whole country follows. But he says the plan won’t work unless Samui reaches herd immunity and that involves vaccinating around 300,000 residents to achieve the goal.

Another hurdle to overcome, is setting up sealed terminals to allow international commercial flights to transit in Bangkok before flying to Samui. Ratchaporn says the aircraft can be the ATR 72-600 which features 70 seats. He says there could be 1 flight per week to Samui from Bangkok.

To prepare for the upcoming reopening, the 3 gulf islands are holding a promotional event called the “Wonder Islands Samui, Phangan, Tao” from March 11 to 17 in Bangkok.  The event is expected to help stimulate the economy through package sales that are worth 20 million baht.

Ratchaporn says Songkran along with the promotional event should bring more tourists to the island, boosting hotel occupancy rates by 60 to 70% next month.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of the Koh Tao Tourism Associations says the government should offer as 50% subsidy for ferries to all island destinations. He says a subsidy would allow more Thais to visit the islands, with the hopes of boosting domestic tourism.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Gj

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 9:34 am

    I commend the effort but reality is by the time vaccines have been rolled out across the world and have had time to cut COVID numbers, Thailand have vaccinated population, quarantine rules have been relaxed both at home and Thailand, won’t leave enough time for people in large numbers to book. And then their is the problem of the fact that in most countries peoples disposable income have been severely cut, even if they have a job.

  2. EdwardV

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Looks more and more like we will be able to visit quarantine free come October. Look for the other three prioritized tourist areas to follow suit.

  3. Panda

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Many come with fast critics on Thai gov and such. But let’s be honest. How many countries can pride themselves of handling the pandemic as Thailand has? Thailand is a wonderful country. I don’t believe any sub called democratic countries made it as good as Thailand did. Indeed times are not as glorious as they were, from certain points of views. However, is one to be blamed? From my experience here since a year, as a full timer, I simply love it even more. I love the creativity, the seeking for solutions to make things easier for all those who want to come and visit this country, while not forgetting the safety of others. Who dare say we are not in good hands!!!???
    As said previously, critic is easy, managing things in critical situation is another game.
    Talking is easy, acts and time talks by itself.
    Thailand I love you.
    Thank you.

  4. toby andrews

    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Panda you have to be joking surely.
    You are in, you would have a different opinion if you tried to get in.
    You are paying plenty and all Thais love you.
    Do the kids follow you in the street because you give them sweets?
    Try being as popular as a Burmese worker.
    Thailand has handled the pandemic terribly.
    Thais are committing suicide because they have no work.
    Drug use has gone up, Protesters are locked up, or disappear – killed probably.
    Even now with the whole world vaccinating millions, Thailand has only vaccinated 30.000.
    Call that handling the pandemic well?

  5. Bill

    Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 2:17 am

    Let the bargirls flock to koh samui!

  6. John Applegate

    Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 6:06 am

    No economy boost until no quarantine, really Thai numbers do not reflect covid reality

  7. Paul gibson

    Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    Panda I think u must be a total numpty if u think Thais love u they love u for your money and why do u think Thailand is such a wonderful place u should think about how many people get beat up there like the farang women having a thai guy smash a bottle over her head or the old day pension being knock out by 4 thais guys or the Thais beating farang up I dont see u writing about how wonderful Thailand should think before u open your numpty mouth and if u think u are going to walk in to thailand just like at in October I think again I guarantee u need all the hoops and requirements at is 100% for sure

  8. Frank Strabeln

    Monday, March 15, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Amazing !!! In october one single flight with a whooping 70 passengers will be available from Bangkok to Ko Samui…every week ? Ko Samui will surely be booming with quality tourists…

  9. Tim

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 3:13 am

    As someone who is keen to come to Thailand as a tourist this year, once I am fully vaccinated, this sort of messaging is increasingly making me look at other destinations for later this year. I respect that it is an important decision for the government of Thailand to make, balancing safety against the need to support the economy but I am not getting the impression that I will be able to travel to Thailand as I would like this year and therefore starting to consider plans for other countries for my main holiday. I am happy to accept testing on whatever schedule and could probably accept up to 3 days of quarantine but beyond that, to attract a tourist such as myself, the country needs to effectively be fully open. These proposals will offer opportunity to attract tourists who are looking for a beach holiday, but they are often not the ones spending the most and as nice as the beaches and sea around Thailand is, there is a lot of competition from other countries.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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