Phuket proposes to welcome tourists by November

PHOTO: Willy Thuan/

PHOTO: Willy Thuan

Phuket business owners are pressing forward with a proposal to turn around province’s tourism industry by allowing long-stay tourists to resume visits to the southern resort island as early as November. Under the “4T” model put forward at a meeting of the provincial disease control committee, long-stay visitors have been identified as having the best potential to be welcomed. 4T, which stands for Target, Testing, Tracing and Treatment, is designed to balance public health with economic recovery, according to the province’s business community. according to president of the Phuket Tourist Association:

“We should start with a small group of long-stay tourists. Chartered flights will be the answer and we can begin on November 1.”

Under the model, target groups must take a Covid-19 test to ensure they are virus-free before departure. Once they arrive in Phuket, they’ll be tracked to mitigate the risk of transmission while authorities work to ensure public health, preparedness and response.

The president of the Kata Thani Hotel says hotel operators are ready for the proposal, in which visitors will be required to stay at their accommodation for 5 to 14 days before they can go out and explore. He says community health volunteers should be brought in to observe the quarantine process and boost local confidence in disease control measures.

“We shouldn’t let the opportunity go to waste.”

Phuket, whose local economy depends almost entirely on the service sector and tourism, has been one of the provinces hardest hit by the pandemic. Phuket welcomed 14 million tourists last year and tourism revenue was around 400 billion baht. Covid-19 killed the boom: in the first 2 months of the pandemic, the local economy suffered a 20 billion baht loss.

The president of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, says the majority of local people agree with the proposal to open the province, but are concerned about a fresh wave of infections. He noted too that some 500 foreign students are waiting to return.

“We can take it step by step and make Phuket the model.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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