“As the countdown to the Sandbox hits seven days, resort island pays tribute to its real-life tourism attraction.”
by Bill Barnett, c9hotelworks.com
Tourism eyes around the world are focused on a resort island in Thailand this week for the reopening of international, vaccinated travel to the Phuket Sandbox. A key emerging storyline from the island’s frenzied runaway to July 1 has been the remarkable cross sector partnerships that has become a true catalyst of change.
Phuket’s private sector has massively rallied in the final days leading up to the Sandbox in support of its greatest asset, its people. The island’s rich cultural tapestry is the theme of the newly launched Welcome Back Home hospitality community collaboration.
One key working part of Thailand’s Sandbox scheme, has been to achieve the vaccination a baseline of over 70% of Phuket residents*. With local government resources already stretched in fighting the Covid-19 crisis, hotels have thrown open their doors and embraced their neighborhoods in hosting vaccination centers to help achieve the numbers.
“The Sandbox has brought together various tourism organizations in a way our industry has never witnessed before,” said Laguna Phuket’s Managing Director Ravi Chandran who has experienced past events like SARS, the Asian tsunami, and the global financial crisis.
“The Sandbox has broken down barriers within our industry, and the hope displayed in the determination and spirit is teaching us a true-life lesson. Welcome Back Home is our tribute to acknowledging people first and supporting our local neighbours and not just relying on Instagram-ready photo libraries.”
C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett added…
“We wanted the campaign to represent the true face of our tourism industry, its people. So, we took to the streets, had conversations, and engaged with our community which has remained resilient in the face of adversity, to actively be the face of this amazing change that is about to take place.”
The campaign was shot by Delivering Asia Communications’ Thai photographer and videographer Thunwa Siripotisorut of over two days of travelling the length and breadth of the island visiting local villages, markets and fishing communities.
Sandbox champion and President of the Phuket Tourism Association, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, expressed pride at how the efforts of local people had brought us to this historic point.
“There will be bumps in the road but we will get there. We are working together as one, one island. The industry has never shared a vision and intent so passionately.”
Welcome Back Home is a unique undertaking between the Laguna Phuket, Phuket Tourist Association, Delivering Asia Communications, and C9 Hotelworks. The social media focused campaign in the lead-up to the beginning of July is highlighted by the voice and images of Phuket people who have endured the pandemic and remain ready to welcome travelers back home in the coming weeks ahead. This is the true voice of Phuket tourism.
*The Thaiger is unable to verify this claim. The latest reports were that 62% of the island’s registered population had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and just over 30% have received both doses. But this information is now more than 7 days old and the real figures are likely higher.
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