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TAT still pushing to launch Phuket 7+7 plan despite Covid-19



PHOTO: The TAT is pushing for the 7+7 plan to launch allowing people to visit certain destinations after 7 days in Phuket. (via Unsplash)

Many of the original Sandbox-style plans to reopen tourist destinations to international travellers have been delayed as Covid-19 outbreaks spread and domestic travel has been mostly shut down, but the Tourism Authority of Thailand is still hoping to launch its 7+7 model to allow Phuket Sandbox travellers to stay one week before continuing on to a handful of other destinations.

The plan to allow arrivals to spend 7 days in Phuket and then the next 7 days of their required 14-day arrival observation period at one of the 9 designated locations the TAT selected and is now asking the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to approve.

Despite Covid-19 infections consistently over 20,000 per day nationally and passing 500 per week in the Phuket Sandbox, the TAT expects to officially launch this 7+7 plan during the month of August.

The islands of Surat Thani would be the first and furthest region to be included in the scheme. With the Samui Plus programme being the second reopening plan to launch on July 15, albeit to paltry numbers, and flights originally scheduled from the Phuket Sandbox to Samui Airport, Opening the 7+7 scheme to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao is an obvious choice.

The two popular holiday regions just outside of Phuket make equally obvious locations to expand the Sandbox into with easy transportation to each. Immediately adjacent to Phuket in Krabi province, Koh Phi Phi, Railay Beach and Koh Ngai would be opened to international travellers after their first week in Phuket. To the north in the province of Phang Nga, Khao Lak, Kho Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi would be reopened to travellers for their second week in Thailand.

A secretary attached to the Prime Minister’s office called the Phuket Sandbox a success so far, with nearly 20,000 arrivals and more than 370,000 hotel room nights booked through September. The majority of travellers have been from the US, UK, Israel, Germany then France. The top 5 destinations travelled to after Phuket have been Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chon Buri in that order.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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