Phuket officials confirm island’s recovery plan following sandbox “success”

PHOTO: Thae Jirapon on Unsplash

The southern island of Phuket is looking to the future, with ambitious plans to evolve into a tourism, education, and service innovation hub between 2023 and 2027. The Bangkok Post reports that officials are preparing to launch the “Together Phuket Stepping Forward” campaign, in line with the country’s imminent re-opening.

Governor Narong Woonciew says the campaign will follow on from the apparent success of the island’s sandbox scheme. The campaign is the result of a consensus reached at a town hall meeting yesterday, which was attended by the Phuket Tourist Association and representatives of various public and private agencies.

According to the Bangkok Post report, officials are seeking to grow revenue across the island, while continuing to make improvements to the sandbox scheme. Phuket was one of Thailand’s top tourist destinations prior to the pandemic, generating 442 billion baht in tourism revenue in 2019. The island was hit hard by Covid-19, with tourist numbers plummeting and many businesses shutting up shop. Officials say the revival of tourism, through the sandbox scheme, has generated 2.14 billion baht from over 70,000 tourists (over 31,000 of them foreigners) between July and September.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam from the Phuket Tourist Association says the latest sandbox figures show that 51,748 tourists spent around 62,000 baht each per trip. However, the island needs more visitors. Bhummikitti says that in order to increase employment on the island, and spread the revenue further, Phuket needs around 10,000 visitors a day. He says a number of measures have been proposed to help achieve this, including lowering Covid-19 insurance policy conditions and fees for low-risk groups.

Meanwhile, in related news, the director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, Weerasak Lorthongkham, says Covid-19 infections on the island continue to fall thanks to the vaccine rollout and proactive case finding.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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