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Phuket wants Chinese tourists to jump-start sandbox scheme



Phuket wants Chinese tourists to jump – start its sandbox scheme which will let vaccinated international visitors enter the Andaman island without undergoing quarantine as of July 1. The targetting of Chinese visitors comes after data revealed that they contributed to 1/5 of the pre-Covid economy.

The move to allow tourists to enter without undergoing quarantine is important as officials say the sandbox model’s success could lead to more areas in Thailand such as Samui Island, Krabi, Pattaya and Chiang Mai in October. Vichit Prakobgosol, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand says before the pandemic, Phuket saw 90% of its economy composed of tourism. Besides China, the government is focused on tourists from Russia, the UK, France, Germany, US, and Sweden.

“It’s good that the majority of countries with high numbers of vaccinations are the main markets for Thai tourism. The focus for the government should now be to finalise agreements and vaccine passports with various countries to allow visitors to return without having to quarantine.”

Phuket is now aiming to administer around 12,000 vaccine doses per day, after its sandbox scheme was approved, pending the achievement of a herd immunity on the island. That type of immunity requires at least 70% of locals to be inoculated before tourists can come in July. Island officials say they are planning to roll out 930,000 doses by June, just in time for the reopening.

Thailand overall has lost about 1.45 million tourism jobs to the Covid pandemic, as tourism accounts for 11-12% of the country’s gross domestic product. Before the pandemic, there were about 4.5 million tourism jobs, with the tourism industry being comprised of around 38 million people.

The government in recent months has pledge to continue its co-payment scheme, to aid domestic tourists in helping the industry survive until international travellers can enter Thailand without undergoing quarantine. Recently, officials admitted that other nations will capture more tourists if they are offering quarantine – free arrivals, making it even more important for Thailand to follow suit.


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  1. keith

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Welcome the people who started the pandemic, great news

  2. Keith

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Chinese will have been vaccinated with Chinese made vaccines that are not very effective. I will avoid getting anywhere near any Chinese

  3. Andrew Whyte

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 11:50 am

    But will China allow people to return from Phuket without quarantining in China. As a New Zealand citizen currently based out of China and desperately hoping to attend a Muay Thai/M.M.A training camp in Phuket in July/August before returning to work to China in September for work this is a huge issue.

  4. Issan John

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    ” “It’s good that the majority of countries with high numbers of vaccinations are the main markets for Thai tourism” ”

    Maybe someone forgot to tell him that as at 7 March barely 3.5% of China’s population had been vaccinated.

    Hardly “high numbers” ?

  5. Ray

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    The article doesn’t say whether the Chinese government allows their citizens to travel and return without quarantining. The CCP has no interest in letting their people visiting other countries and I wouldn’t be surprised they will be one of the last to do so.

  6. Issan John

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    AFAIK the only non-mainland destination permitted without quarantine on return is Macao – not even Hong Kong.

    But who cares about reality… ?

  7. Jayce

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    I would rather let an unvaccinated Australian in quarantine free over a vaccinated US citizen. Not that it matters because Australians can’t get out of the country but a vaccinated US person could still be infectious whereas the chances of an Australian carrying the virus are slim to none regardless of their vaccine status…

  8. Stephen Westrip

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Article fails to mention that although Chinese tourism may contribute 1/5 of the economy, the actual spend per tourist for Chinese tourists is below Middle Eastern, European, American and Oceanic tourists. I hope they can get the numbers of Chinese tourists they expect/need to spend the money more freely!!

    • Thaiger

      Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      That’s not historically quite right. In fact, per day, the Chinese spent about the same as many of the European visitors in the past. BUT, they only stayed 2-3 days, instead of the 1-2 weeks of other nationalities. But we’ve done many articles comparing the per diem spend which showed the money spent by various tourists.

  9. G

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    I have not looked it up but I don’t think there are any countries allow their citizens to freely go on holiday and return no quarantine. I can’t see that changing this year, vaccine or no vaccine, because most of the world has not been vaccinated in sufficient numbers and there are too many variants.

    Surely its better know reality and plan than keep giving the local population false hope.

  10. EdwardV

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    I thought the entire idea was to get tourists who would stay a long time and spend a lot of money? Probably best to focus on tourists who travel well under adverse conditions. You know the opposite of the Chinese tourists.

  11. Ben

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Another tourism led wish. I’d pay attention to what the Health Ministry say if you want to know what’s going to actually happen.

    The tourism industry is interested in any scheme that’ll bring large numbers of spendy tourists to Thailand. Don’t hold your breathe hoping the Chinese come. Ray is right. China is playing this one very conservatively.

  12. Issan John

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    “Chinese will have been vaccinated with Chinese made vaccines that are not very effective”

    They seem effective enough at protecting those vaccinated, but that hardly helps those who aren’t if they’re only 50% effective (OK, 51) at stopping mild infections, which suggests only 50% effective at stopping transmission.

    If that’s the case, although half won’t have Covid, half may as well not have been vaccinated as far as being contagious goes.

    On the other hand, if that’s the case then a quarter of those vaccinated with AZ may as well not have been vaccinated either.

    Oh dear …..

  13. Roger Bruce

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Great to see all the Anti-Chinese comments

    I can add no more

    Good Luck Thailand

  14. EdwardV

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    “a vaccinated US person could still be infectious whereas the chances of an Australian carrying the virus are slim to none regardless of their vaccine status” – You are confusing the purpose of the vaccine with the chances of being infectious. The reason you vaccinate is to stop people from becoming seriously ill or dying. The reason countries want tourists to be vaccinated is so if they become infected, they won’t overwhelm the local health system. Keeping in mind while there is little chance a visiting Aussie brought the virus with him, he can still easily catch while on vacation and need hospitalization. A vaccinated American has virtually no chance of needing hospitalization for Covid while on vacation. As to an American bringing the virus with them, yes there is a chance but I would argue it’s pretty small. The first reason is the PCR test, but the second reason is the vaccination itself. Most all American’s are getting vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna. Studies have shown those two vaccines offer over 90% immunity from catching Covid after two weeks from their second shot (80% after the first shot). While your statement is true, it’s much less than you think.

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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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