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“Phuket Model” to be re-named, expanded to all of Thailand



PHOTO: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

A much-talked-about plan to reopen Phuket to international tourists is set for a rebrand and expansion. The plan, formerly known as the “Phuket Model”, is proposed to be re-named “Special Tourist Visa”, and will now cover all of Thailand. But, in its latest incarnation, the model will only allow tourists from “approved countries” to be involved.

Apparently, the Phuket plan encountered some opposition, and a lot of confusion, and so, officials have decided the best solution to all of that is to expand it nationwide.

Tossaporn Sirisamphan, from the National Economic and Social Development Board, says the plan will now be rolled out to the entire country (it’s not clear if the “entire country” wants it or will be involved in the decision).

“The Phuket Model has caused confusion and opposition… Therefore, we’ve adjusted the plan to allow foreign tourists to travel at large, since some of the provinces such as Bangkok have the capability to handle foreign tourists.”

Prior to this, the scheme was aimed at Phuket only, as a pilot model in a controlled environment, with tourists having to carry out an additional 7 days’ quarantine on top of the mandatory 14, if they wished to travel beyond the province. That requirement appears to have been scrapped, at least for today.

Tossaporn says the revised plan has the backing of Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, adding that foreign tourists admitted under the scheme will be subject to the same health restrictions as repatriating Thai nationals.

“They will undergo the same measures as Thais returning from overseas. After spending 14 days in quarantine and being cleared of the virus, they can go anywhere they wish.”

The government has yet to decide which countries these hotly-anticipated tourists will come from, with Tossaporn saying the Tourism and Finance Ministries will work together to come up with a list of qualifying countries.

Meanwhile, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, says the Kingdom must accept the possibility of new Covid cases once the borders are re-opened, insisting the impact can be minimised through proper risk management.

SOURCE: Khaosod English


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  1. Tourist number one

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    “Qualifying countries” oh boy. If everyone has to quarantine why only certain countries can come. If you reopen completely you can have a decent amount of tourist willing to quarantine. Limiting the tourist pool just makes the plan less likely to succeed.

    • Kondababu

      Friday, September 11, 2020 at 11:53 pm

      Yes,this may help to boost the tourism economy

  2. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Great, tourists can choose to be confined to a hotel room for 14 days at great expense all over Thailand now, not just Phuket.
    The Thais are becoming desperate now . . .
    They say that the Phuket model caused some confusion.
    Naw, there is no confusion. It is a rip off unneeded deal from a arrogant deluded government.

    • Patrick Jacquemyn

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 7:59 pm

      What does matter if country of origin is high or low risk when mandatory test and 2 weeks quarantaine?

  3. Mike

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    If I’m willing to pay and quarantine for 14 days what difference does it matter what country im coming from.
    Most countries are lying about numbers reported anyway just to look good

  4. Rinky Stingpiece

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Tossaporn perhaps ought to point out to decision-makers that tourists aren’t very likely to spend lots of money up front (several thousand dollars) for 2 weeks locked up in a room (not really much different from being locked up in a room at home), when they can’t even be sure that they can get back home and get paid for 2 weeks on their return… the total duration of a normal 2 week holiday effectively becomes 6 weeks, with 4 weeks locked up… the total cost of a holiday is effectively doubled or even tripled, at a time when many people are even more price sensitive than usual.

    • Mike Frenchie

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      Absolutely! This is completely nuts…

  5. Ray W.

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    well its a step in the right direction, only 120 days too late. The Country of origin constraints seem a bit dumb. After a 14 day quarantine you should know if the tourist has covid or not. Why should we care where they’re from if they don’t have covid let them in, we need the capital flow and it would be nice to not seem like a bunch of isolationist bigots.

  6. Lance

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    So let me guess …. America is not going to be an approved country right ? Sigh!

    • Perceville Smithers

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 10:56 pm

      Nope! People forget there’s not a large American presence but still a presence and, some have a Thai wife and child.

    • ada

      Friday, September 11, 2020 at 11:33 am

      I really hope they will not allow Americans.

      • Dave

        Monday, September 14, 2020 at 2:00 am

        Why? If I quarantine for 14 days and test negative what difference will it make? If I am not allowed my fiance and I cannot get married. We would have gotten married before I left but the marriage authority was closed. Now I am being treated like a tourist when I am not. I cannot even get permission with a elite visa.

  7. Mark

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    I concur 14 days quarantine in Bangkok is fine why complicate matters on a 90 day visa that’s ok

  8. Bobby m

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Well if its true, then it’s green shoots and that’s good. However, just like any rice crop it can grow or fail.

    Unless it’s a world away from the Phuket model I believe it will fail. Tourists do not want to spend 14 days in prison, nor do they want continual expensive testing regimes, inflated flight prices, or any demand to buy local insurances.

    14 days Quarantine needs to be replaced by minimising contact, strict social distancing. Mask wearing, track and trace. etc.

    Tests are becoming pretty pointless and pretty much valid for the the moment in time they are taken, with false positives and false negatives. Temperature checks on departure, arrival and maybe daily by the visitor, reporting any significant rise to an agreed department. I would certainly be checking mine and would not wait if it suddenly went up.

    International insurance that covers Covid is quite sufficient.

    Just a suggestion

    Extend 30 day free visa to 45 days
    Sanitised taxi from airport to destination or car hire (Booked in advance if not local to arrival point)
    Strict social distancing for 14 days at whatever accommodation you are staying, hotel, apartment of family home.
    Normal social distancing thereafter.

    Unless something like this is put in place and costs are kept down. 90% of the tourists you seek just will not come. It’s much easier and far less expensive to go to other countries. A friend returned recently because of business ownership and it cost 180.000 Bht.

    It’s good you recognise that there will be some cases. It’s inevitable and those will have to be managed carefully, but you have already proved your ability to do that.

    I really hope the green shoots start to grow. How much and how well is up to you.

  9. Mike Frenchie

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    NOBODY except – maybe – retired returnees will come! Who in his/her right mind will come to be jailed for 14 days at his/her costs? This is totally delusional.
    Banks have massive loan exposure towards the service/tourism sector… expect the uncollectable loans to skyrocket soon wiping out more than half of the bank’s capital.
    Then, they will reopen like there is no tomorrow.

  10. Jase

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    I’m so keen to holiday I’ll take the 14 days quarantine. I’ll stay on for a further 2 months to make it worth while. It’s not an ideal scenario but it’s not going to change to suit me any time soon so I’ll take what I can get. Bit of a bummer to have to quarantine again when I return but that’s on me. Want the holiday then pay the piper. Also helps being from New Zealand so I like to think I’m a starter.

  11. EdwardV

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Thailand just admitted two people from France into Phuket, a country going thought a huge spike and high numbers. Is that the bar Thailand will be using to decided what counties will be allowed in or not? Some consistency would be nice but of course not to be expected.

  12. Jason

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    I have this feeling that by the time peak season comes around (November to March),there will be no quarantine requirement at all. As long as you tested negative before departure and tested negative on arrival (maybe with a brief quarantine until the test result is available and negative), you will be able to tour and stay as it was before the pandemic. That is both sensible and prudent and acceptable to foreigners. Thailand will have to determine low risk countries it deems are a safe risk.In the world, we have been so focussed on those who have the virus. But remember….the majority of the worlds’ population don’t have the virus.

    As long as the screening is thorough, all will be well. So get your testing regime in place and have a quick turnaround on tests and results. Then we can all get back to a real normal.

  13. james

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    I know, let’s have a plan, in order to have a plan, which we can change and then plan again, then we can plan again and then rename the plan and by the time we have got around to opening Phuket it will be a year from now and the virus will have been ‘cured’ anyway.

    Then we can have a new plan.

  14. Geoff

    Friday, September 11, 2020 at 10:20 am

    The 14 day quarantine at hotels of their choice was quoted last week, to cost between 100,000 and 200,000bt. (7000+ per day! That’s a helluva lot per day, on top of everything else. No normal tourist, retired or not, can afford that. I suspect, as someone else has said, that these requirements won’t be popular, and will be drastically pruned in the next couple of months.

  15. Gary Stephens

    Friday, September 11, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    What happened to the 1KM rule on the Phuket model where from day 1 quanantine you could go with 1km of the hotel

  16. Politenessman

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    They don’t seem to get it, there is nowhere in Thailand that I want to go badly enough to be locked in a hotel for 14 days, I can lock myself in my home for free.

    I get that they are trying to find a zero risk way to get tourism back on, but this is a waste of time and effort.

  17. Dave

    Monday, September 14, 2020 at 2:04 am

    I wonder what their excuse will be when people have taken the vaccine? I am wondering if there are other agendas than just Covid-19.

  18. Kevin

    Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 12:41 am

    There is a huge disconnect between what people commenting here are discussing and what the Thai government is trying to achieve.
    The Thai government is trying to bring in retired Europeans for multiple-month medical tourism. This isn’t about Phuket or any other “tourist” spot. This is about recasting Thailand as the “Safe” sanctuary with top notch medical facilities. And as of right now that is exactly what Thailand is.
    My medical care here in Thailand is so far superior to my care in the USA that I almost can’t call them the same thing. And if you’re coming here to stay safe away from Covid you’re not going to mind the quarantine.

  19. Maag

    Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Amazing plan . Tourists will rush to Phuket by million .
    Should built fastly more hotels to welcome them !

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