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Phuket businesses welcome quarantine-free re-opening plan

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: William Rouse on Unsplash

Businesses on the southern island of Phuket have welcomed the government’s approval of a quarantine-free re-opening for vaccinated foreigners from July 1. From that date, Phuket will become the first province to waive mandatory quarantine for international arrivals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. The re-opening is expected to generate over 84 billion baht.

Like many parts of the country that are heavily reliant on tourism, Phuket has been hit hard by the pandemic. Before Covid-19, the island welcomed between 70,000 and 80,000 foreign visitors every day. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, it now gets only around 10,000 visitors, most being Thai. While welcoming news of the imminent re-opening, Thanusak Phungdet from the Phuket Chamber of Commerce says it’s essential to vaccinate 70% of the local population before then.

“We have to procure more vaccines and Phuket residents must cooperate by receiving the vaccine. Once Phuket re-opens to tourists from July 1, local tourism is expected to have a cash flow of 84 billion baht.”

He adds that the re-opening won’t lead to a flood of foreign tourists right away, but it will also help tourism beyond Phuket.

“We expect about 100,000 foreign tourists to arrive in Phuket in the next 5 months. With the re-opening to foreign tourists, income may increase by only 20-30%, but this will also boost the national tourism industry because the foreign tourists in Phuket may also visit other provinces.”

Under the Phuket re-opening plan, or “sandbox” proposal, the island must achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 70% of its population before mandatory quarantine is waived for international visitors. This means at least 466,587 people need to receive 2 vaccine doses. In order to make the July 1 deadline, the vaccine rollout needs to begin by April 15, with dose number 2 being administered from May 15.

Foreign tourists will be required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport, or International Air Transport Association travel pass. They still need to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours before travel.

Meanwhile, the government has approved a re-opening roadmap for 6 Thai provinces, beginning next month. Between April and June, vaccinated foreigners arriving in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai, will carry out a reduced quarantine of 7 days. From July, Phuket waives quarantine for vaccinated arrivals, but tourists will need to stick to “sealed routes” on the island for 7 days, before being allowed to visit other parts of the country. They will also need to download and use the government’s contact tracing app.

The Bangkok Post reports that Bhummikitti Ruktaengam from the Phuket Tourist Association says once tourism picks up from October, Phuket’s re-opening should generate an additional 54 billion baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    J West

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Will the dozen or so Go Go Bar owners and Hotel Barons who own 90% of the businesses reside with thier families in Phuket during this experiment?

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Sounds like it’s a pre-flight test only – that’s good news. One more obstacle down.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

    TExactly, J West.

    That may be what “Phuket businesses” want, but nobody, least of all most (but not all) English language media, seems remotely interested in what local people want.

    “The Phuket News launched an online poll on Feb 10 asking the simple question: “Would you take a COVID vaccine?” …

    Overall, 28% of respondents voted an outright “Yes” to taking a COVID vaccine, and a further 28% voted “It depends on the vaccine”.

    The remaining 43% voted an outright “No” to taking a COVID vaccine.

    Of the 28.47% respondents who voted “Yes”, 10.88% were Thai nationals, 67.36% were local expatriate residents and 21.76% were foreign visitors to Phuket.

    Among the 43.36% who voted “No” 49.32% were Thai nationals, 39.46% were local expatriate residents and 11.22% foreign visitors to Phuket.

    Hanging in the balance were those who voted “It depends on which vaccine” (28.17%), of whom 15.18% were Thai nationals, 74.87% were local expatriate residents and the remaining 9.95% were foreign visitors to Phuket.

    By demographic, of the Thai nationals who took part in the poll 10.77% voted “Yes” and 14.87% voted “It depends on which vaccine”, but a huge 74.36% voted a plain “No”.”

    If that isn’t clear, in the Phuket News poll, 3 out of 4 Thais polled voted a plain “No” to getting ANY vaccine.

  4. Avatar

    nipral

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:53 am

    @jwest stupid and meaningless comment !

  5. Avatar

    Glenn Smith

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:59 am

    I would love to know who is doing these numbers ?
    It’s nonsense, dream time stuff.
    Someone seems to think that reducing the quarantine to 7 days, or restricted movement will have tourists swamping te place.
    Has anyone thought of the issues in them then going or being able to go home.
    All it will do is encourage people from countries where there is minimal screening and quarantine on their return..

  6. Avatar

    leons k

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    I have been living in Phuket for 19 years and want to see this happen but nothing concrete re vaccinations here is in evidence. I want one and no news yet.

  7. Avatar

    luca

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    if the percentages of Thais against the vaccine are those indicated by Issan John and if they can be extended to the whole country then I think that tourism in Thailand is dead and gone. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is destined to remain with us for a long time to come

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    “if the percentages of Thais against the vaccine are those indicated by Issan John …”

    Not “by me”, luca, they’re a direct quote from the Phuket News, easily Googled.

    TBH I would have expected that around me where there’s no real effect from a lack of foreign tourists – far more from not so much money coming “home” from factory workers – but I’m surprised at that in Phuket given the bleating on here and elsewhere.

    Around here they’re just happy to sit it out until things are a bit clearer, and apparently that applies to those in Phuket too.

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