Koh SamuiThailand

Koh Samui tourism officials, businesses call on government to open Sandbox registration

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

The Phuket Sandbox is now the only quarantine substitution programme open for registration, but those on the Gulf of Thailand island Koh Samui are calling on the government to allow the Samui Sandbox scheme to continue as usual.

Since the government’s announcement yesterday on closing registration for the Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme and the Sandbox scheme, with the exception of the Phuket Sandbox, a number of people cancelled their hotel bookings, according to the director of the Tourism Association of Samui. (Those who have registered under Test & Go, or the Sandbox, can still enter through the schemes. Click HERE for more information on entry.)

He added that the unexpected suspension of the Test & Go registration, and drop in bookings, comes at a critical time – the island’s high season, when many hoteliers and resort owners expected an uptick in revenue.

The island’s tourism association director, Ratchaporn Pulsawat, argues that Samui should remain an option under the Sandbox programme as more than 80% of the island’s population are vaccinated.

He says that this month, there has been an influx of visitors on the island and many businesses have reopened. Closure for Test & Go and Sandbox registration could hurt Samui businesses that have already struggled during the nearly two-year pandemic.

Ratchaporn told Thai media that business owners in Samui and the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao will propose a letter to the government to include Samui in the Sandbox programme under the same guidelines as Phuket.

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If you are fully vaccinated, and looking to travel to Phuket, you can enter by booking a 7 Day Sandbox Hotel package.

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