The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui is paying great attention to how the Phuket sandbox scheme unfolds and hoping it succeeds. According to a Bangkok Post report, Ratchaporn Poolsawadee says the Samui Plus scheme could attract 2,000 guests in its first month if some rules can be eased.
“Besides the virus situation on our islands and the whole country, we’re closely watching the situation in Phuket. If most inbound tourists to Phuket are free from Covid-19, we will propose more relaxations on Samui and 2 other islands in Surat Thani. Even though Phuket detected its first imported case on Wednesday, it won’t affect our plan.”
From July 15, the Samui Plus model kicks off, which will see the island and its neighbours, Koh Phang Ngan and Koh Tao, open to vaccinated foreign tourists. The re-opening is initially on a trial basis and will be shut down immediately should 20 or more untraceable Covid-19 infections be reported in week 1.
Ratchaporn says talks are still ongoing to confirm how much to charge for alternative local quarantine accommodation, acknowledging that tourists will already be forking out around 15,000 baht for Covid testing. The island currently has 22 ALQ facilities with a total of 300 – 400 rooms. A further 41 hotels are accredited under the Safety and Health Administration Plus system.
Ratchaporn expects tourism revenue in the third quarter to be around 1 billion baht, with another 3 billion added during the last quarter. However, if Samui is able to ease its re-opening rules, revenue in the last quarter could rise to 6 billion baht.
Meanwhile, Chantana Limsuwan from the Koh Phang Ngan Hotel and Tourism Association says that even though the island is unable to hold its infamous Full Moon Party, there will be other activities open for tourists to enjoy. The notorious party would usually attract tens of thousands of visitors pre-pandemic.
On Koh Tao, Worapong Wongsuwan from the Koh Tao Tourism Association is hopeful that the island can welcome 1,000 Samui Plus visitors in the third quarter, rising to 3,000 by the end of the year.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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