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Phuket re-opening could be postponed

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Dive Magazine

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says plans to re-open Phuket to foreign tourists could be delayed as a result of the country’s first local case of Covid-19 in over 3 months in Bangkok. TAT governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, was speaking as officials visited the island to meet with local businesses and discuss disease prevention measures and preparations for a scheduled October 1 opening, under tight restrictions.

The government had been hoping to allow around 200 Australian and New Zealand visitors to come to Phuket, provided they tested negative for Covid-19 prior to departure and carried out 14 days’ quarantine on arrival. After 14 days, if the plan had gone ahead, the travellers would be free to leave their quarantine accommodation and travel around Phuket, although travel elsewhere in Thailand would require an additional 7 days’ quarantine… or so the ‘plan’ went.

Unfortunately, this plan failed to take into account that Australians are currently not allowed leave their country and the New Zealand government is advising its citizens not to travel overseas unless it is an urgent matter. In any case, it now looks like the plan, aka. the “Phuket Model”, has hit another bump in the road as authorities confirm the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission after 100 days of zero community transmissions.

But Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, from the Department of Disease Control, says it’s unlikely the Bangkok DJ who has tested positive for Covid-19 is a “super-spreader”. The 37 year old tested positive while carrying out 14 days of quarantine in a Corrections Department facility after being sentenced for drugs offences.

Suwannachai claims the man did not have direct contact with customers while working as a DJ. There are thought to be around 708 people who had some sort of direct or indirect contact with the man, with 140 classified as “high-risk”. One of the high-risk contacts became a “Patient Under Investigation” after developing a fever, but has since tested negative for the virus.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that domestic tourism in the Kingdom is not doing as well as officials had hoped. Over the long weekend surveyed hotels were averaging around 30% occupancy and approximate spending calculated at around 8.8 billion baht in total, well below predictions for the 4 day extended long weekend (with 2 days added as Songkran holiday substitutes). However, Yuthasak says tourism has improved since July, adding that the government is adding extra incentives to its domestic tourism stimulus package.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Convenient face saving excuse. This plan was a non starter from many angles. Assuming you could actually find 200 tourists willing to visit under the ridiculous conditions imposed upon them, no one has even commented on how exactly you are going to close down an area of 1 km around any participating hotel, how are you going to actually physically stop a tourist leaving the zone, and what about all the locals that live in this zone? Outrageous level of stupidity.

  2. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Further destroying everything for one case? Unbelievable, the people so scared of this virus should research hepatitis and every other disease out there, which are more prevalent.

  3. Avatar

    Richard King

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 8:33 am

    The Australian ban on overseas travel was enforced durimg the first international borders was closed, So no reason Thai Government would not know that between that and the cap for returnig flights back into Australia means people trying to get back since the first time is difficult enough let alone now.
    And wont be opened untill maybe mid next year if lucky.

  4. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Not surprised one bit. You could see this so called postponement coming from a mile away. To have people show up the first of October, the details would already be known. It takes weeks to get all the documents for a special Thai visa, people would have already started the process. As to the stated reason I’m not buying it. If a single case can detail something this important then you might as well not open up until after a vaccine is in widespread use. A single case is setting the bar unrealistically low.

  5. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 11:50 am

    The weird policies and mentality of the Thai government never stop to baffle me. The saddest part is that the poor common person is paying the price. The government needs to decide whether it wants its people to fall sick due to the virus or die from hunger and bankruptcy

    • Avatar


      Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      Most Thais have family members that are farmers or fishermen. Farmers and fishermen don’t starve. My God, man! Thais have been self-sufficient long before mass tourism. They don’t need farangs to support them.

      • Avatar


        Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 10:32 pm

        Any idea ‘Steve’ how many Thais used to work in Tourism or who relied, indirectly, on tourism to earn a crust? How they getting on now, in your opinion? Certainly seems you think they are all just doing fine. Well, sorry to pi55 on your parade, but they ain’t doing just fine!

        • Avatar


          Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:13 am

          Well said Bob…such characters like Steve need to listen to what the Thai Health minister has=d said a few days ago…

  6. Avatar

    ray atkins

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    no one can leave australia… not sure about new zealand is this sloppy reporting or confusion with the local government?

  7. Avatar

    Jilted John

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    ‘Unfortunately, this plan failed to take into account that Australians are currently not allowed leave their country and the New Zealand government is advising its citizens not to travel’

    Nothing quite like doing your research…

    • Avatar

      Willie Chang

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      So where are the Australian cricket team playing their T20 matches?

  8. Avatar

    Bobby M

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    It’s ok, don’t rush. We are not coming. You lost at least 80% of those considering it when they read your conditions and requirements. We don’t need it.

    I have a friend who had No option but to return as he has a wife and business there. All done, quarantine and tests. The fees came to 180.000 thb.

    One business closed, the other closing and investments removed.

    • Avatar

      Willie Chang

      Monday, September 7, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      For the life of me, I don’t know how people can open businesses in Thailand. There is no profit to be made in that country and anybody tell you they made moneyshere is lying. The place is simply a rundown wasteland pretending to be a country or under the illusion that it’s a country. The leaders are like sheep and possess not a single original idea.

  9. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    One local case as an excuse not to open. Not exactely unexpected.
    Only thing left to do now is find a way to blame it on “Dirty Farang”. I wonder how many people will come back to Thailand after opening up sometime in late 2021.

  10. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Regardless of what people think of the coronavirus, foreigners tend to forget that they are visitors to Thailand with absolutely no authority on how this country is run. Foreigners come off sounding like arrogant sanctimonious a**holes when they criticize Thai authorities for the decisions they make. Outside the “entertainment zones” this is still a traditional society where it is common for multi-generational families to live under one roof. Unlike the west, they don’t put their elderly in nursing homes to die alone. If Covid-19 ever spreads to the villages, thousands of elderly will die. I hope you now realize why the Thai authorities are being so cautious with reopening. A little understanding and patience is what’s needed.

    • Avatar

      Perceville Smithers

      Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 11:10 pm

      Good post. Certain Westerners sometimes think their way is the only way and always wanna tell “others” how things should be done.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:50 pm

      it’s just the flu; there’s no pandemic, all of this is just a trick to distract you from all the money the government, the corporations and the banks are stealing; it’s just the flu !!

  11. Avatar


    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Well, and even if this means the end of tourism industry in Phuket, will you be tearing your clothes and tossing dust on your heads? I won`t.

  12. Avatar

    China One

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Good job Thailand
    Continue to keep the western trash overboard.
    Chinese tourists will soon arrive in Thailand. you don’t need western garbage that cannot cope with the coronavirus.

  13. Avatar

    Stephen Westrip

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Perhaps someone in Thai Government will explain this – if you are going to test and quarantine tourists why does it matter what country they come from? If travel/health insurance is mandatory it won’t cost Thailand in that regard. Add to that, tourists would not travel if they thought they were infected. They want a vacation not a prolonged hospital stay!

  14. Avatar

    Patrick Nouvel

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    The posponement 1 year of 2 subs value 22.5 billions bath .. The postponement of tourism regulated anti covid correct clever measures will cost between 600 to 800 billions.. Just think about the consequences, better invest in tests facilities and hospital care

  15. Avatar


    Monday, September 7, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Some critics say that you will always have a certain number of false-positives, and also the virus is not more deadly than the normal flu.

    If those statements were true, you would never be able to eliminate it, nor would you have to, see Sweden.

    It is actually a fact that billions of dollars are given to the different governments by the IMF, but of course only if they keep locked up — because only then, they need the big(!) help.

    Of course the money is spent wisely for the help of the population. I am sure that the distribution is actually monitored and documented transparently. And that this money really always is reaching the right places.

    Otherwise, those lockdown-billions might be creating a conflict of interest for the powerful decision-makers. So that they might feel the need to “overprotect” their population… And have more money to distribute at their will.


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