Tourists pose for a photo on Patong Beach in Phuket, open to fully vaccinated tourists as part of its sandbox program.
Phuket expects to generate tens of billions of baht from one million foreign arrivals over the next six months, tourism authorities said Thursday as they outlined their reopening schedule.
The Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) on Thursday approved the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plan to promote Phuket as a world-class destination with a goal of generating 60 billion baht in the fourth quarter. of this year and the first quarter of 2022.
Additional data has been released on the performance of the island’s sandbox reopening program after its launch on July 1.
Thai travelers have dominated the sandbox inbound for the past three months, followed by the United States as the largest international source market.
The sandbox’s economic contribution in its first three months was 2.25 billion baht.
As of September 29, Phuket had 7,494 Thai travelers to the island since July, while travelers from the United States accounted for 5,845, followed by those from Israel (5,414) and the United Kingdom (4,758).
Of the 37,978 travelers enrolled in this program, 23,215 traveled to other destinations in the country after completing the mandatory 14-day stay in Phuket.
“We expect the number of visitors to increase significantly in the last quarter taking into account the reduction in the quarantine from 14 to seven days from October, while a steady decrease in the infection rate will benefit inbound markets over the course of of the coming high season, ”said Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor TAT.
He said CESA has also approved the relaxation of eight travel measures.
Three conditions have been implemented, including reduction of quarantine; allow group certificate of entry (COE) applications, which will allow tour operators to help customers process registration forms; and allow commercial flights from Russia at the end of October.
Mr Yuthasak said the easing of restrictions should help generate at least 500,000 tour packages via charter flights over the next six months, of which 295,000 packages would come from the Russian market, for a total of 2.5 million. overnight stays, followed by 130,000 packages from the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries, generating 200,000 overnight stays.
However, he said five other conditions require further discussion with related parties, including relaxing the high-risk contact rule for passengers boarding the same flight with a Covid-19 patient, reducing the price of the RT-PCR test and the reduction of compulsory Covid insurance coverage from $ 100,000 to $ 50,000.
TAT also plans to discuss with the Foreign Ministry the visa system and the COE, which should be able to receive applications three months in advance, compared to one month currently.
Discussions could also include the possibility of revoking the COE in the future, as well as coordinating with the Ministry of Public Health on the development of a vaccine passport verification system, Yuthasak said.
In addition to the reopening program, CESA said it agreed with the proposal to create a tourism support fund to breathe new life into the travel industry, with an initial budget of 5 billion baht. .