Connect with us


Phuket Sandbox looking ahead to Russian, UK travellers



FILE PHOTO: Travellers are returning to Phuket, and changes may bring more UK and Russian tourists soon.

While the daily rollercoaster ride of the Phuket Sandbox tourist launch, with the jump from 7 to 14 days, the last-minute approval, the problems getting a Certificate of Entry, and the few cases of Covid-19 infections, it’s easy to overlook the forest for the trees. But if viewed not as a full reopening to the pre-Covid-19 heydays but rather as ambitious baby steps to welcoming back international travellers, the Phuket Sandbox has been reasonably successful and tourism businesses feel optimistic. Changes next week may make it easier for UK travellers to come, and a push is on to let Russian tourists come back by the fourth quarter.

They make headlines, but the 10 Covid-19 infections of the 5,473 Sandbox arrivals so far equates to just 0.2% of international travellers infected. For every 1 person we read about being whisked away to an alternative quarantine facility, there’s 100 more eating in a local restaurant, going for a swim at their resort’s pool, or lying on the beach relaxing.

The Phuket Tourist Association believes that the results so far can be reassuring to the global travel community and a few upcoming changes could allow foreigners to come back in much higher numbers. Russian travellers were a huge demographic before Covid-19 and trade groups are urging the government to approve the Sputnik vaccine to open the Sandbox door to the Russian market to return in October. Another big game-changer is that British citizens currently have to quarantine upon returning to the United Kingdom as Thailand is on its amber list, but that restriction is lifting next Monday. No longer having to isolate after a Phuket holiday will likely see an increase in UK tourists arriving in Thailand.

Estimates by the PTA predict the Phuket Sandbox will see 18,000 travellers in July, 30,000 more in August, and 35,000 in September, bringing third-quarter totals to 83,000 travellers. 12,000 hotel rooms have been booked already, and even accounting for 20% who delayed their travels and 13% who cancelled their bookings that’s still between 8,000 and 9,000 new hotel rooms being filled this quarter. Luxury resorts that were seeing occupancy rates of under 10% are now booking out about 20% of their inventory.

A recent meeting reveals that only about 850 of the arriving Sandbox travellers were Thai nationals, less than many predicted. Americans have been the biggest returning market so far, and travellers from the United Arab Emirates, Israel, the United Kingdom and Germany also accounted for a sizeable portion of the travellers. Travellers arrived for various purposes with some travelling for business and others coming for a leisure holiday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


Get more from The Thaiger

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime29 mins ago

Cat killer feels no guilt over sadistic act

Koh Samui56 mins ago

Koh Samui’s Moving Market – a hidden local treat

Visa59 mins ago

Thailand’s 10 year LTR visa most popular among Americans and Chinese

Sponsored8 hours ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Politics2 hours ago

Thailand PM wants to groom successor in two years

Bangkok2 hours ago

VIDEO: Taxi meter rises suspiciously quickly in Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand3 hours ago

Man wins 144 million baht in Thailand’s lottery

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok3 hours ago

Plumber murders and robs Thai woman in Bangkok

Drugs4 hours ago

Man returns for bag with meth pills he left at restaurant

Transport4 hours ago

Porsche sales in Thailand roaring thanks to nation’s entrepreneurs

Visa4 hours ago

Overstay crackdown uses facial recognition tech

Thailand5 hours ago

Father dies trying to save son from teenage gang

Songkhla6 hours ago

Railway bomb kills three in southern Thailand

Thailand6 hours ago

Restaurant in Japan urges Thai tourists to flush tissues down the toilet

Thailand7 hours ago

Frenchman arrested for scamming Thai woman out of 2 million baht in Bangkok

Thailand7 hours ago

CAAT warns Thai VietJet for cancelling three Phuket – Bangkok flights in one day

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11