Phuket continues to prepare for the return of vaccinated international tourists from 1st July under the Phuket “Sandbox”.
For the Sandbox to begin Phuket needs to achieve herd immunity by completing inoculation of at least 70% of the islands population and the number of new daily Covid cases being as close to zero as possible.
The vaccination programme began on 1st April and officials are very confident that they will be able to inoculate at least 466,000 by the end of June. This includes 300,000 local residents, 100,000 non-residents, and 66,000 foreign residents and migrant workers.
“As of 1 June, 2021, Phuket’s vaccination programme has reached 54% of the population, mostly among locals and non-residents. Vaccination for foreigners and migrant workers is scheduled on 3 June, 2021. We expect the vaccination to reach 70% of Phuket’s population by 30 June, 2021.”Mr. Pichet Panapong, Vice Governor Phuket
Phuket has also gone above and beyond the existing Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification programme with the introduction of the Amazing Thailand SHA+ initiative.
“The ‘Sandbox’ model signifies public health safety for all. Phuket will be the pilot destination to reopen in the third quarter to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from low-risk countries under strict rules and regulations. Safety is paramount in the reopening of Phuket.”Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
The Amazing Thailand SHA was launched in May and is used to assess 10 types of business; namely, restaurants and diners; hotels, accommodation and homestays; recreational activities and tourist attractions; transportation; travel agencies; health and beauty; department stores and shopping centres; sports for tourism; activities and meetings, theatres and entertainment, and souvenir shops and other shops.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently certified the Amazing Thailand SHA certification in alignment with the WTTC SafeTravels protocols.
“The Amazing Thailand SHA+ logo is awarded to hotel establishments in Phuket where at least 70% of staff are inoculated. Phuket hotels are now ready to welcome back guests.”Mr. Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, President Thailand Hotels Association (THA) Southern Chapter
Phuket has also taken the opportunity to improve landscaping and improvements to safety measures including road safety and water transport safety. The aim is to reduce the possibility of tourists coming to harm in Phuket and further improve tourist confidence in the province.
The Phuket Sandbox is part of a larger programme to open a further 10 areas of Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Koh Samui, from October.
“When we are talking about reopening Phuket, we are not only talking about Phuket, but we are talking about reopening Thailand. Also, the reopening effort is to welcome back everyone, both local and international visitors, because each and every one is important to the revival of Thailand’s tourism.”Mr. Thaneth Tantipiyakij, President Phuket Tourism Council
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