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Phuket gets ready for foreign yachts, high-spending tourists hoped to revive economy

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket gets ready for foreign yachts, high-spending tourists hoped to revive economy | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Marcin Ciszewski
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With hopes that high spending tourists will help revive the crippled economy, Phuket is jumping on the new scheme allowing those travelling on super-yachts and cruise ships to dock in Thailand and enter on the Special Tourist Visa.

Phuket officials have come up with guidelines for the province’s reopening to foreign tourists and will submit it to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. If approved, foreign yachts and cruise ships each carrying hundreds of tourists and crew members will be allowed to dock in Phuket.

Foreign tourists and crew members travelling by yacht or cruise ship will need to go through a 14-day quarantine aboard the vessel. Under Phuket’s proposed guidelines, luxury vessels will dock in Ao Por and will be able to anchor around Koh Nakha Noi which is about 6.2 kilometres away from the mainland.

Phuket’s deputy governor Pichet Panapong says the provincial committee on disease control has drafted a step by step approach on how to use the luxury vessels as “alternative yacht quarantine,” or AYQ, facilities.

During the aboard quarantine, temperature checks are required to be done twice each day and RT-PCR Covid-19 tests must be done at least 3 times including upon arrival, between the second and fifth day of quarantine and between the twelfth and fourteenth day.

Small boats will be used to go to and from the yachts to deliver supplies and collect samples. The personnel on the small boats must wear proper protective gear and make sure the boat is cleaned and disinfected after each journey.

Since the cabinet’s guidelines on docking foreign luxury vessels was approved, 27 super yachts and 33 cruise ships, each carrying 600 to 700 people, have shown interest in docking.

Phuket has been struggling since the coronavirus lockdown as its economy heavily relied on foreign tourists for income. Pichet says domestic tourism is not enough. He says the island province needs tourists who are going to spend a significant amount of money and the group of tourists travelling on yachts and cruise ships are expected to generate around 2.1 billion baht.

“We have six to seven requirements for foreign visitors and we only let a small number of them in at a time. So we need those who are significant contributors to revive the local economy. If the spending remains low it will hardly make a difference.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 16, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Yacht again?
    If the cruise ships can quarantine partly at sea while they travel to Phuket, This might work.

    • Avatar

      Nipral

      November 16, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      What is the interest of Phuket if you are stuck onboard ???
      The island will be deserted anyway. We have a wealth of destinations
      to choose from with our boats. Thailand does not enter into consideration anymore.
      In addition what kind of money can you spend if you stay onboard ???
      The most stupid government on earth !

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      November 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      Think the massive negative publicity with people imprisoned on cruise ships at the start of the crisis has probably caused iraepairable damage to the industry.
      The mrs and i were planning a once in a lifetime trip on a cruise ship just prior to the crisis.
      You could not get either of us onboard one now even if you paid us.
      Suspect we are not alone.

  2. Avatar

    Nipral

    November 16, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Another moronic idea from this stupid government !
    Who wants to be stuck 14 days at Ao Por in deserted Phuket ?
    As far as the “superyachts carrying 600-700 each 600-700 people” (sic)
    they may not stay afloat very long. Just a bunch of jokers !!!!
    But we have a good time reading your news !!!LOL

  3. Avatar

    murika

    November 16, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    700 passengers on each 50 boats, it’s 35000 people, if they spend 21 billions it’s means each one will spend 600000 bath, while shopping in Phuket, I can’t believe that

  4. Avatar

    Geoff

    November 16, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Like it or not, the mass, “bread and butter”, middle range tourist group is the only one that will restore the tourism economy.
    Fanciful talk about super rich, super yachts etc., will not benefit the general population.
    Nothing will happen until quick result, reliable testing is available with a working vaccine.

  5. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    November 16, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    What is the interest to be sitting in front of Phuket for two weeks in a cruise ship? To visit an island where all restaurants/bars are closed afterwards? Another stupid idea… except few returnees owning a yacht… (very few people on board usually), nobody will come…

  6. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    November 16, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Revive economy? 555 are people really that stupid to think:

    1) ‘Shown interest’ means will actually arrive once full terms and conditions are known? Ie show 500k bank statements (how do you even get that on a boat?) and 14 day quarantine

    2) That a few hundred or even a few thousand people over months will help anything, let alone revive the islands economy. Let us know when talking about a few thousand per day otherwise just wasting everyone’s day in an attempt to make an entirely inept and uncaring government look like its being proactive and actually helping

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    November 16, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Whether they’re stuck on board for 14 days after docking, which seems unlikely, or time at sea is included, which seems equally unlikely, I just can’t see that this gives any sort of answer.

    14 days stuck on board while docked at Ao Por wouldn’t be acceptable for any cruise, although that seems to be what’s planned, and cruises are unlikely to spend 14 days at sea so that would only reduce the time stuck at Ao Por, not get rid of it.

    As far as I’m aware, most cruises have also gone into temporary hibernation due to an inevitable lack of passengers – most cruise passengers are retirees, so particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, and the last place any of them would want to be is on a cruise liner where they’re more likely to get infected than just about anywhere else on the planet.

    … and what superyachts or cruise ships carry 600 – 700 people? That’s far too many for even the biggest superyacht, and far too small for any cruise ship!

    … as for the maths (it was actually 2.1 billion baht expected, Murika, not 21 billion so “only” 60,000 baht each), what are they going to spend their money on? The crew certainly won’t spend anything, so that would mean up to 100,000 baht per passenger … and on a cruise they’ve already paid for their accommodation, meals and entertainment so that’s an awful lot to spend on souvenirs.

    This proposal just looks like a desperate attempt by the Phuket administration to be seen to be doing something, when there’s simply nothing that can be done until, as Geoff said, there’s a better test and a working vaccine and the reality is that neither seems likely for up to a year.

    Far better, in my view, to follow Vietnam’s example and admit that there’s no short term solution so at least everyone knows where they stand rather than holding out hope where there is none.

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      November 16, 2020 at 9:34 pm

      Having some posh yachts is better than nothing at all… even these will provide some work and income for some people, and let them trial some marine COVID-handling procedures.
      Now that the green shoots of vaccines are beginning pop up, some tourism-related businesses will be trying to cling on until this time next year. The lack of movement in diversifying the local economy away from total tourism saturation is the bigger problem though. All that clinging on risks ramping up debts, which will undermine the viability of businesses in the longer term.

    • Avatar

      Mike

      November 17, 2020 at 10:25 am

      You are not directly dependent on tourists to earn a living. Vietnam is also not as dependent as its economy is bigger, stronger and more diverse. I suppose if you’re selfish and living in your “Issan” bubble and are also enjoying not having as many tourists around…

      • The Thaiger & The Nation

        The Thaiger & The Nation

        November 17, 2020 at 11:17 am

        Vietnam’s economy is bigger and stronger? Than Thailand’s? Ummm, wrong. It’s about half the size.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        November 17, 2020 at 12:58 pm

        As already pointed out by Thaiger (thank you), Vietnam’s economy is far from “bigger, stronger and more diverse”.

        Tourism is 8% of the country’s GDP (not far short of Thailand’s 11 – 12%), and it’s economy has taken a much bigger hit than Thailand’s as it’s exports are far less “diverse”. Garment exports make up half of it’s exports and the garment industry, exporting primarily to the US and EU, has collapsed.

        … and actually we’ve got just as many tourists around … as usual, though, they’re all Thais.

        • Avatar

          EdwardV

          November 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm

          There was an article in the Nov. 5th BP title”Opening up is the only way to rescue Thai tourism”. In the article they quote from a company that the official and unofficial tourism number is 22% of GDP. Of course the unofficial number must be estimated but most articles and studies I’ve see even here always stay the unofficial portion is bigger than people think. Interesting they also claim foreign tourism makes up 65-70% of that total. About 14-15% of total GDP would be foreign tourism, if correct that’s a huge number. Just putting it out there. Salt, needs salt.

  8. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    November 16, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Cruise ships??? Are there many of these self-contained infection hubs running at the moment?

    Think I remember reading last week about a Carribean cruise ship resuming activities only to end up with cases spreading onboard for this first cruise…

    Sounds like a plan – Let’s start by inviting the Diamond Princess over!

  9. Avatar

    EdwardV

    November 16, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Another meaningless PR proposal. Phuket is dead for the foreseeable future and there is nothing that can be done to change that. Cruises won’t dock for 15 day’s that’s a non-starter. Super yachts don’t carry enough people to justify the cost of reopening a souvenir shop let alone a restaurant or bar. You need tens of thousands of tourists showing up weekly at the minimum to get people to invest in reopening. Until then just live with the quarantine because it doesn’t make economic sense otherwise.

  10. Avatar

    Tony Grace

    November 16, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Forger about curse ships and Chinese wealthy turests they don’t spend money Chinese only go to Chinese hotels eat in Chinese restaurants travell on Chinese charter buses and take selfies on there I phones ask any Thai bar or restaurant owner and they all shake there heads and say no never come here and if they do always mooning about something.There best customer its the guy that has 2 to 3 weeks holiday money to spend looking for a good time looking for the ladies and the beer .So it’s the old saying you have the money we have the honey and they will rince him and every one is happy look forward to his return.and the madam at the bar will say hurry back they all love you very much

  11. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 17, 2020 at 8:38 am

    The Maldives is 6.5 days away at 10 knots.
    No restrictions, apart from a health certificate – not Maldives.
    The Maldivians all have fancy motor bikes, some have 4 wheel drives, drink 10 year old whisky, and top of the range smart phones, because they ARE smart, unlike the Thais.
    Thais are only fit for fishing and farming.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 17, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      So they “all have fancy motor bikes”?

      Strange, since in the Maldives 55% of the population in the capital have an income of less than US$390 per month, as do 90% of the population outside the capital.

      Meanwhile in Thailand the average income in Bangkok is US$695, while outside the capital it’s US$510.

      Maybe none of the Thais you met when here, before they threw you out, had “4 wheel drives, drink 10 year old whisky, and top of the range smart phones”, but plenty do.

      • Avatar

        Nipral

        November 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm

        Stop dropping fake stats ! Moronic !!!

  12. Avatar

    jesus monroe

    November 17, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Anyone seen my dingy?

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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Phuket

Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket workshop helps residents cope with high stress brought on by the economic crisis | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: ประชาสัมพันธ์ เทศบาลตำบลวิชิต

Hundreds of residents in Phuket’s Wichit subdistrict attended a workshop focused on reducing stress from to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. A psychologist was even on site to help those who had extreme mental stress and a Buddhist monk taught meditation techniques to reduce physiological effects of stress.

The event was planned in response to an online survey conducted by the municipality asking residents about how much stress they were experiencing from the economic climate. They found that some residents had serious stress issues brought on by the pandemic and financial problems, according to Wichit Mayor Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat.

“The loss of income due to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 situation has resulted in some people in the area suffering serious stress, which can lead to serious mental health issues.”

Around 350 people attended the event. The mayor says it was the first step in caring for the residents’ mental health. Local officials plan to hold similar workshops in the future.

“It was a good opportunity for people to realise the importance of mental health and to learn techniques of how to deal with stress, which will help people to maintain their physical health and avoid developing mental health problems.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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