Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket Sandbox looking ahead to Russian, UK travellers

Neill Fronde

Published

 on 

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

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

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:

Thailand7 mins ago

Covid-19 Poll: People trust doctors, social media, 85% confused.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Record high as Chon Buri hits nearly 800 Covid-19 infections

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Covid outbreak closes Nakhon Si Thammarat rubberwood processing factory

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand4 hours ago

Nearly 600 temples now offering free cremation services

Thailand5 hours ago

Phetchabun chicken processing plant sees over 3,000 infections

Phuket5 hours ago

New Covid-19 infections drop, still worrisome for Phuket Sandbox

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket5 hours ago

Phuket “car mob” protest demands the removal of PM, calls for mRNA vaccines

Thailand6 hours ago

Samut Sakhon Governor Veerasak offers to resign if communication in his province doesn’t improve

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Sunday Covid Update: 15,335 new cases; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 15,335 new infections, provincial numbers

Coronavirus Infections7 hours ago

DDC says infections still rising, possibly falling in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

DDC says use the QueQ app to book appointment at sports stadium in Pathum Thani

Business9 hours ago

Inside story behind the Thailand property seachange

Thailand9 hours ago

Domestic flights added to Phuket/Samui, CAAT says be careful

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

4th body found on a Bangkok street

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Phuket5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending