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Phuket eyes October 1 as launch date for “Safe and Sealed” tourism plan

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Syed Ahmad on Unsplash

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says his ministry hopes to kick-start a careful and limited re-opening to international tourism from October 1, beginning with the southern province of Phuket. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phiphat’s ministry will meet with the Public Health, Interior, Foreign and Transport ministries on August 27 to discuss the introduction of the “Safe and Sealed” campaign. The campaign aims to revive tourism from international provinces or cities considered “low-risk” for Covid-19.

One suggestion being considered is to reserve 1 or 2 kilometres of beach near state quarantine locations, in places like Patong, where tourists would be able to leave their accommodation to spend time at the beach while still observing the mandatory 14 day quarantine requirement.

If the plan is agreed, it will be presented to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for final approval. Members of the CCSA visited Phuket last week to discuss the province’s readiness for re-opening, and it’s understood the Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to carry out a follow-up survey seeking the views of locals.

Phiphat says the plan for Phuket has been positively received by Energy Minister, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who heads up the economic policy team. He adds that he has also talked with Finance Minister, Predee Daochai, about a proposed 100-billion-baht cash injection for the tourism sector, but this needs further discussion with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and economic advisers. Phiphat says his ministry plans to review the success of the domestic travel stimulus campaign prior to deciding next steps. It’s expected that more than 1 million hotel rooms will have been redeemed under the scheme, out of more than 5 million eligible rooms. TAT is also working on a campaign to increase the number of trips taken during the long weekend of September 4 to 7, which replaces the April Songkran holiday.

Meanwhile, tourism operators in the northern provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai are working together to promote their regions for long-stay visitors. Kitti Tissakul, from the Association of Northern Tourism Federation in Chiang Rai province, is calling on the government to help foster a stronger connection with sister cities such as Gunma in Japan, by introducing direct flights or travel bubbles to boost tourism between the two.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    TS

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Already massive queues for the “safe & sealed” campaign are forming in low risk areas

  2. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Why not just assign some smaller islands as quarantine holiday islands? People don’t just go for the beaches, they go for the experience, and the current experience on offer – long haul flights with a mask on and everyone in biohazard suits and restricted travel is not a thing most people will be keen to hand over cash for… they can find beaches closer to home with a lot less hassle.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      Wow tourists are now to be allowed to leave their overpriced, for foreigners, quarantine hotels and also be in quarantine on a beach!
      But the plan is not approved yet, so please tourists do not go rushing to book a flight to Thailand yet.
      They really have a deluded sense of their how important Thailand is.

      • Avatar

        TS

        Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 7:52 pm

        long queues already forming in safe zones to come quarantine in Thailand?…safe and sealed- brilliant plan

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    it’s something different every other day. the policy/procedures might change mid-flight then once you get there, you’ll be confined to your hotel the entire time.

  4. Avatar

    thet

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    But foreigners, who are already here, are being pushed out as we cannot do visa runs anymore.

  5. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 3:58 am

    Confined to an island, thanks but no thanks.

    What on earth are you trying to achieve. Do you not realise the likelihood is that thousands of Thais from all over the country will flock to Phuket to try and make money, Phuket accommodation prices will go through the roof and if there is an infection. It will have the same effect as not confining visitors to one area as it will be spread across Thailand by all the nationals going home to their villages, unsuccessful in achieving their goals due to an overkill situation anyway.

    Pointless exercise. Open the borders and utilise track and trace with local control of any outbreaks.

    Entry conditions simple, just have to have Covid healthcare insurance. It is available.

    Test 72 hours before travelling pointless, as it does not mean you are clear of Covid
    Test on arrival pointless, As it does not mean you are clear of Covid
    Temperature check has some value as shows you are possibly sick on arrival and must quarantine (at a welcoming and sensible price)

    Standard 14 day quarantine nobody will come.

    If you want us to come back, you need to get real.

    • Avatar

      Bobby m

      Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      Addendum

      See what happens when you accept it’s not going away and you start to manage it along with your economy.

      Pound Sterling Best Performer of Past Month, and it’s Not Just a Story of Dollar and Euro Weakness

      19 August, 2020 |
      The British Pound is the best performing major currency of the past day, and now the past month courtesy of a rout of the U.S. Dollar, but also because of a potential fundamental re-evaluation of the currency by the global investor community.

      Note the global investment comment.

  6. Avatar

    Shane

    Friday, August 21, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Who comes up with these brilliant marketing slogans? ‘Sealed’ (for me anyhow) immediately has a connotation of quarantine, being locked up. I assume they started with the phrase ‘safe and sound’ but decided to ‘improve’ it. Why not ‘safe and sealed and supervised’, that’s an honest slogan.

    Shane.

  7. Avatar

    mark

    Friday, August 21, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    “still observing the mandatory 14 day quarantine requirement.”

    Go fuck yourself

  8. Avatar

    Bobby J

    Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Just imagine people flocking in droves to a country on holiday to be whisked away from the airport by the authorities and taken to an island where they’ll be detained by the government. Oh joy! Such a strategy has been the norm in North Korea for quite some time, and that’s likely one of the reasons why it’s not a very popular tourist destination.

  9. Avatar

    Nigel

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Shane- safe, supervised, sealed and s..t faced. So many more “s” could be added to the slogan

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Krabi

Krabi tourism operators call for vaccination ramp up, clarity on national park rules

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: A beach restaurant on Koh Lanta waits for the return of foreign tourists

With Krabi eyeing October 1 for a re-opening to vaccinated foreign tourists, operators in the region are calling for greater clarity and for vaccination to be ramped up. Ekawit Pinyotamanotai from the Krabi Tourism Association says tourism workers need to be prioritised for vaccination and there is a need for clarity on regulations governing national parks.

The Krabi sandbox model covers Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang, and Railay Bay, which are all hoping to open to vaccinated travellers and reboot their decimated economies. The Bangkok Post reports that Ekawit is calling for a ramp-up of vaccination efforts in the region, saying this is crucial to rebuilding confidence among locals and tourists alike.

According to Ekawit, between 40,000 and 80,000 workers in the tourism sector in Ao Nang, Railay, Lanta, and Phi Phi need to be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination. Krabi’s vaccine rollout is expected to kick off next month, with officials aiming to administer between 8,000 and 10,000 doses a day in the first stage.

Ekawit says there has been interest in the province from travel agents in Scandinavian countries, as well as Germany and the UK. However, with 90% of tourist attractions being located in areas designated as national parks, he points out that there is an urgent need for the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department to clarify the regulations applicable to these sites.

Furthermore, he says the sudden closure of places like Maya Bay make it extremely challenging for operators to plan itineraries in advance. He says that while operators appreciate a need for periods of rehabilitation, the department must implement more practical solutions to manage visitor capacity, including clarifying how long tourists can spend on islands and beaches.

“Operators agree natural resources need rehabilitation, but the closures require more clarification.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Krabi Tourism Association, Sasithorn Kittidhrakul, says businesses are calling for an extension to the domestic tourism stimulus package to cover low periods such as August and September. She points out that such an extension would give businesses in places like Koh Lanta a chance to make some money, given that they cannot open to international tourists until October.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pfizer vaccine OK for US children 12-15, critics urge better use

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Children age 12-15 now deemed safe to received the Pfizer vaccine. (by Wikimedia)

While drug regulators authorised Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 in the US, critics are saying that the jabs would be more useful if sent to poor countries. The American Food and Drug Administration cleared the vaccine on Monday, saying that it was safe for children over the age of 12, and the US Centres for Disease Control will now convene an advisory committee to discuss the formal recommendation. But there are many countries where very vulnerable people still have not had access to any vaccine. Children are considered to have a minimal risk for Covid-19.

The head of the World Health Organisation spoke critically against vaccine diplomacy, the red tape and international negotiation that is slowing the distribution and administering of vaccines to other countries in need. The United States is one of many wealthy nations that have been able to quickly spread the vaccine throughout its population, with over 115 million people already fully vaccinated. The American economy is the world’s biggest, and thanks to the rapid vaccination, governmental authorities have begun to loosen restrictions related to Covid-19 and begin to revive the ailing economy.

President Joe Biden hailed the vaccine approval for children aged 12 to 15, saying that it was a promising development and will help the country fight against the Coronavirus. But the United States has been coming under increased pressure to aid in getting vaccines to less fortunate countries with greater need. The United States has recently joined the push to convince Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers to release their intellectual property rights in order to allow other nations to produce vaccines locally.

Here in Thailand, Americans have been calling for the United States government to make arrangements for expats and citizens abroad to get vaccinated when they’re in countries that do not provide them with vaccines. At the same time, many frustrated Thai people with the means to travel to the US are participating in vaccine tourism, planning American vacations where they can get vaccinated.

The head of the European Medicines Agency believes that the EU will also approve the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15, possibly within this month. The move will further help vaccination efforts it hopes to jumpstart European economies. As Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, the Justice Minister in Spain reminded people the coronavirus is not gone and they need to behave responsibly following the end of a six-month state of emergency there. People had responded by dropping masks and social distancing protocol to celebrate in the streets. Greece has reopened schools for younger children up to middle school and hopes to remain open from May 14th for the tourism season. Ireland also revoked domestic travel bans allowing people to move around the country more freely again.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Wednesday Covid UPDATE: 24 deaths and 1,983 new infections

Tim Newton

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The Thai public health ministry is reporting an additional 34 Covid-related deaths and 1,983 new infections from the past 24 hours of Bangkok and provincial reports. We’ll post all the provincial numbers just after lunch when they become available.

• Bangkok health officials are aiming to get around 70% of the Bangkok’s residents – about 5 million people – vaccinated within 2 months.

Yesterday PM Prayut Chan-o-cha noted that the number of people registering for vaccinations with the government had fallen below target.

• Krabi’s tourism operators are urging the government to push forward with local vaccination plans and commit to regulations for the province’s national parks so they can proceed with plans to re-open on October 1.

Ekawit Pinyotamanotai, president of the Krabi Tourism Association, says that “vaccine readiness is the key factor to build the confidence of locals and tourists”.

• The Marine Department is imposing strict new social distancing and regular cleaning aboard boats on the capital’s main canal routes for passenger ferries. They are also ordering more frequent services to spread out the load on each boat.

Boat operators will now add more trips during the morning rush hour from 7am to 8.30am and in the evening from 4:30pm to 6pm. The service frequency will increase from 5-7 minutes to 2-3 minutes to prevent crowding on both boats and piers – Nation Thailand

 

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