The visa without quarantine plan “a success”

More than 90 Bahrainis have taken advantage of a visa-free quarantine deal with Thailand, including a family of 15 who spent their Eid vacation in the Southeast Asian country.

Launched on July 1, the sandbox program allows vaccinated travelers to visit specific areas without quarantine, as long as they stay in the designated area for seven to 14 days.

Currently, the program has three components. “Under the Phuket Sandbox, tourists can stay without quarantine on the island for 14 days, while under the Phuket Sandbox Extension 7 + 7, the first seven days are spent in Phuket and the other seven days are spent in one. smaller islands – Phang-Nga or Krabi or Surat Thani, ”said outgoing Thai ambassador Thanis Na Songkhla, during an interview with the GDN.

“The third component is the Samui Plus, under which tourists can stay in Samui for 14 days.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback from Thai nationals and foreign tourists for the program. About 33,000 tourists from all over the world have participated in the sandbox programs, contributing more than 20 million comics to the economy.

“So far, over 90 Bahrainis have participated in the program, especially the Phuket Sandbox. There was even a family of 15 who chose to spend their Eid vacation in Phuket!

The program comes as Thailand and Bahrain deepen their bilateral ties, both in trade and tourism.

Last month, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Foreign Ministry Chutintorn Gongsakdi visited Bahrain to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

During his visit, he discussed achievements in health and medical services, trade and investment as well as food security. A fourth strategic area of ​​cooperation discussed was energy.

“PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) is still interested in doing business in Bahrain and has explored the possibility of future cooperation,” added Mr. Songkhla.

“The Thai private sector has also expressed initial interest in investing in renewable energy in Bahrain, such as Wyncoast Industrial Park Company, which is a Thai supplier of solar panels.”

Bilateral trade between the two countries has been estimated at $ 350.37 million, a decrease of 33.3% from the previous year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Thai Embassy and Mr. Songkhla have been working hard on projects to strengthen trade, their most significant achievement being the smooth opening of the Thai Mart in Diyar Al Muharraq in December of last year. Currently, there are 123 stores, 12 restaurants and 11 kiosks.

“The Thai Mart project has already become a model for other Thai embassies in GCC countries, as well as for future initiatives, which will help strengthen Thailand-Bahrain relations,” Songkhla added.

With Mr Songkhla leaving his post tomorrow, the new charge d’affaires Nuttapat Chumnijarakij will lead the embassy team, until a new ambassador is appointed, probably next year.

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