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PM to chair meeting on Thailand’s re-opening as Phuket officials demand clarity

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/jeiline
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The Centre for Economic Situation Administration will today discuss plans for the revival of Thailand’s tourism sector at a virtual meeting chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Attendees will discuss a future quarantine-free re-opening of 10 provinces considered popular tourist destinations: Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Chon Buri, Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phang Nga, and Buriram. While Phuket is gearing up to re-open to vaccinated tourists from July 1, it’s hoped the 9 other provinces can do so from October 1.

The Bangkok Post reports that in 2019, the combined tourism revenue from these 10 provinces was around 1.5 trillion baht, which is why they’ve been chosen to partake in the pilot re-opening plan, which will be implemented between October 1 and December 31.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri says the details of the re-opening will be discussed at today’s meeting. However, just 28 days before Phuket’s re-opening, tourism officials there say they still don’t know the details of the “sandbox” programme. And they add that unless more clarity is forthcoming, the re-opening may not happen. Bhummikitti Raktaengam from the Phuket Tourist Association says government agencies on the southern island are still in the dark about a lot of things.

“The problem is we have been asked a lot lately by interested parties in other countries as to what the exact conditions of this tourism programme are. But we cannot really answer these questions even though there are just 28 days left. If things are still left so unclear, the Phuket sandbox won’t likely happen as planned.”

One of the issues creating confusion is just how long vaccinated tourists will need to remain on the island. While the government previously mandated a period of 7 days, Yuthasak Supasorn from the Tourism Authority of Thailand says this may increase to 14 days as a result of the resurgence of Covid-19 in the Kingdom. However, as with many other things, this has yet to be confirmed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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