“Together Phuket Stepping Forward”: tourism plan after Sandbox

PHOTO: "Together Phuket Stepping Forward" aims to recover tourism after Covid-19 (via Yahoo)

“Together Phuket Stepping Forward” is the new tourism campaign designed to be the successor to the Phuket Sandbox now that the government is firming their plans to open without quarantine to a newly-expanded list of 46 countries. The plan grew out of a town hall meeting yesterday with private and public agencies along with the Phuket Tourist Association.

Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew explains that the plan is a look ahead not just for tourism this year and next, but as a roadmap for the province to be a hub over the next 6 years in tourism, as well as education and service innovation, with targets set between 2023 and 2027.

The new plan will look to expand in the current Phuket Sandbox to increase revenue and increase tourism while handling Covid-19 safety and security. This next step is an attempt to bridge the gap between current tourist numbers and revenue and the much higher earnings before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Sandbox earned 2.14 billion baht in its first 3 months, with over 31,000 international travellers as well as nearly 40,000 domestic travellers. But that pales in comparison to pre-Covid numbers as Phuket tourism brought in 442 billion baht in 2019.

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While the latest figures showed Phuket Sandboxers spent 62,000 baht each and nearly 52,000 people arrived over about 4 months, the “Together Phuket Stepping Forward” plan aims for welcoming 10,000 people per day into the province, a figure that is estimated to be the point where employment rates will increase and tourism revenue will be more broadly distributed amongst Phuket businesses.

The plan to grow Phuket will include complementing the goal of improving hospitality services in the tourism sector with enhancements to health and medical services in the provinces. Phuket has the medical security and safety procedures solidly in place to support domestic and international tourism and keep them safe even amidst Covid-19 outbreaks.

Vaccinations in Phuket have increased as well as active case finding, and the Covid-19 infection rate has come under control considerably. Now officials are calling for some of the most stifling and deterring restrictions to be lifted to encourage international travellers to come to the province with greater ease and greater numbers.

They have called for a lowering of the necessary Covid-19 insurance coverage required, as premiums for at-risk and older travellers can be sky-high. These revisions seem to be taken into account in new national plans for the November 1 reopening.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

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.

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