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Special Tourist Visa flight to Phuket delayed, tourists to arrive after the Vegetarian Festival

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Facebook: ปชส. จังหวัดภูเก็ต

The country’s first tourists to arrive since April’s border closures are not arriving tomorrow as originally expected. Phuket ‘s governor now says they’ll be arriving after the island’s annual Vegetarian Festival which runs from October 17 to 25. He hasn’t clarified when he requested the delay for foreign tourists to start coming back to Phuket, and he hasn’t confirm exactly when the first tourists are expected, except that it will be after October 25.

The first group of foreigners to arrive on the new Special Tourist Visa were set to fly in from China on a chartered AirAsia flight and arrive at the Phuket International Airport tomorrow. In a video posted on the local government’s Facebook page, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said the decision to delay the flight was due to locals’ fears that the tourists could cause a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“I have already requested that foreigners arrive after the Vegetarian Festival ends… The decision was made to make people feel more comfortable (with tourists arriving.)”

Many have also been critical of the governor’s decision to allow the the Vegetarian Festival to take place this month. The festival, more known for the acts of self-mutilation than its vegetarian food, will need to follow “new normal” protocols. The “mah songs,” who channel spirits during the event and often practice self-mutilation, will travel in vehicles during the street possessions and crowd control will be enforced. Some of the main ceremonies, as well as acts like fire walking, are banned.

“Many Thais from other provinces will come to the festival, and there were concerns that foreigners coming to watch the festival may bring the virus to Phuket … I thank the Phuket shrines for their efforts to comply with the health protection measures needed. The decision whether or not to hold the festival was reconsidered again and again. It took a long time to think about (whether or not to hold) the Vegetarian Festival this year, but it will go ahead because it is a part of Phuket’s traditions.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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    13 Comments

    13 Comments

    1. Avatar

      OneoftheAliens

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      I Love Thailand more and more

    2. Avatar

      Dirty Farang

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      “to delay the flight was due to locals’ fears that the tourists could cause a second wave of Covid-19 infections”

      yeah, tourists prepare to go to airport TOMORROW and now it’s postponed in last second because of some fears – shut down the whole country and stay closed forever, but stop wining because ran out of cash ???

    3. Avatar

      barry

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Chartered flight on…. Air Asia?

      Wait a minute, I thought these STV tourists were supposed to be millionaires – And they’re flown in on a low-cost airline?

      Air Asia’s idea of first class is a red label on headrest! Woah….

    4. Avatar

      Marvin

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      The flight is delayed.

      So now the Chinese have to get retested 3 days before to see if they fit to fly.

      Ridiculous

    5. Avatar

      Laocowboy 2

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:54 pm

      They are not – and were never – ‘tourists’. It is a flight bringing Chinese investors, presumably to pick up distressed assets such as hotels that cannot pay their bank loans etc.

      • Avatar

        barry

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:51 pm

        They’re flying Air Asia though… So much for business class

      • The Thaiger & The Nation

        The Thaiger & The Nation

        Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 9:34 am

        Please provide some evidence of your claim.

    6. Avatar

      Robert Bunker

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      I think TAT / Thai government are grasping at straws with this latest change of story. I think they might even have been taking advice from the master,Boris Johnson, about how to spin bullshit and lies from one day to the next.

    7. Avatar

      Thomas

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      I start to admire the unlimited supply of bullshit excuses and stories of why nobody can enter Thailand. How can they look in the mirror without laughing. But keep it going, the longer they stay closed the cheaper businesses and condos will become. Thank you

      • Avatar

        Dirty Farang

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 5:07 pm

        yeah, let’s dry them out until the bones. then buy 200sqm condo in thong lor for 15k euros

    8. Avatar

      TheObserver

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 6:01 pm

      Again, entering a car or riding a bike in Thailand is so much more dangerous than being exposed to infected poeple. The fear of the virus is irreal in Thailand.

    9. Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 10:14 am

      I read that they were desperate for foreign tourists, but now they have some who are willing to go through all the expensive procedures to arrive, they refuse them entry until a later date.
      They are not very bright are they?

    10. Avatar

      Vance

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 5:31 am

      Can go to Barbados they offer a one year visa for you to experience Barbados

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    Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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