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Phuket Airport prepares for eventual launch of tourist pilot project

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: www.cgtn.com

Phuket Airport carried out a trial run yesterday, going over all the steps necessary to admit tourists under the much-discussed, not-yet-happening, off-and-on “Phuket Model”. The plan to use Phuket as a pilot, to test a limited return of international tourists, was set to launch in October but has now been postponed. The brakes were applied when Thailand recorded its first locally-transmitted case of Covid-19 in over 3 months, coupled with some concerns raised by Phuket locals, who questioned the safety of the plan.

There are hopes the plan will eventually be put into effect, with staff and officials at Phuket Airport holding a dress rehearsal yesterday, to run through every step of the process. This includes the screening of arriving tourists, document completion and checks, and transporting arrivals to their designated quarantine accommodation.

A report in Nation Thailand says several airport agencies were involved in the run-through, including Immigration, Customs, and the Tourist Police. Thanee Chuangchoo, the airport’s general manager, says should the government decide to re-open to foreign tourists, Phuket Airport wants to be ready, adding that procedures at the facility will mirror those already in place for repatriating Thais and expats at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport .

Meanwhile, the medical director at Phuket Airport says thorough health checks will be in place for all arrivals. Darunee Budin says temperatures will be checked with a Thermo-Scan and, in the event of anyone showing a fever, that passenger will be separated from others and monitored. Should their condition worsen, they will be sent to hospital.

She says all arrivals will have their documents thoroughly checked, including fit-to-fly papers and medical certificates, adding that anyone without all the required documentation will be returned to their country of origin. Those who pass all document checks satisfactorily will then proceed through Immigration and Customs, before finally being transported to their quarantine facility.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Gary

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 11:26 am

    The plane can take off when the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 11:51 am

    I hear that they have ordered a truckload of hoops for foreign tourists arrivals to jump through.

    • Avatar

      Peter

      Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      What tourists will those be then? Do pilots and cabin crew count?

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    A dress rehersal for something that’s happening 6-8 mos from now?

  4. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Who are these locals and how many are there? I guess they can’t be the ones losing their jobs?

  5. Avatar

    Kenneth Brewster

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Interesting choice of words:Launch the tourist pilot from the airport. Will spectators be allowed ?

  6. Avatar

    Jason

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    The comments I have read about this article are full of sarcasm. Sarcasm is also the lowest form of wit. I am glad to see that the people of Phuket and particularly the airport staff are “going through the drills” in preparation for the eventual return of foreign tourists to Phuket. The day is coming when this pandemic will come to an end (maybe in the same way the Spanish Flu did…..there was no vaccine it just fizzled out). That readiness will put Phuket in a good position to receive foreign tourists in larger numbers. Better that, than being unprepared and being passed over for other destinations that are prepared.

    Of course having said that, the “Phuket Model”, which has been the proposition put forward by the government, has been almost universally condemned in every poll and opinion piece. Sadly, the government seems to have run out of ideas. Having achieved almost zero community transmission, the decision makers can’t decide whether to keep foreigners out (which will destroy the lives and livelihoods of the people) or let foreign tourists in (which will boost income to the lives and livelihoods of the people….and maybe the virus too). The 14 day quarantine period, irrespective of the outcome of a test (positive or negative) is illogical. The incoming tourist has a test 72 hours before departing, which has to be negative to fly. I totally understand that the Thai Government may be sceptical about the effectiveness of the testing of another country (the tourist will also suspect your own testing….that’s only fair ….and worth remembering). But why would there be a need for quarantine if the tourist tests negative (twice now)??? I can understand the tourist being in quarantine, until the result of the test is known (maybe a day or two). If the test is negative, full access to tour Phuket (and only Phuket). If positive,14 days quarantine and the possibility of being sent back to their country of origin. That is the only basis that would be acceptable to a foreign tourist. Take it or leave it.

    I do hope that the government will consider this, if they hope to attract foreign tourists back to Phuket and Thailand. It is the only logical way I can see a path out of this mess. The one thing I do hope of the Thai Government, is that they give clear direction, so that the people and businesses have a clear and defined path out of this crisis, with clear timelines. Indecision is the same as impotence.

    • Avatar

      lootarzoon

      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 10:38 pm

      You are 100 correct.. But… That is facing a political logic against basic logic.. Government prefers to set collective hysteria & paranoia for the great move of the emergency decree month after month with full power… Am I wrong? May be,

  7. Avatar

    Brian Erhan

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:38 am

    Thailand, as many of us know, is terribly complicated and difficult to make decisions. Open or close the circus all year round so the “magnets” can rest and for a while think about how important tourists are to the country. Eating or being eaten is the question. The panic will linger for a long time in that country and the negativity will increase on the violence and the student movement which I fully agree with, go for it Democracy !!

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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