Main picture Buddha in Koh Samui, Thailand credit Kit Surman on Unsplash
In Phuket, travellers can stay in any hotel that has the SHA+ accreditation for the first 14 days of their trip. In the current “Samui Plus” model travellers will be required to stay in in alternative local quarantine (ALQ) accommodation for the first 7 days.
Understandably this will be a off-putting to many prospective visitors. The choice of ALQ facilities is limited and the cost of rooms and Covid tests are expensive, hence why the islands are expecting just 1,000 – 2,000 tourists in the first 30 days.
There are hopes however that if the Phuket Sandbox is successful, and Covid-19 cases do not increase, they will be able to propose to loosen restrictions.
“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 two other islands in Surat Thani. Even though Phuket detected its first imported case on Wednesday, it won’t affect our plan.” said Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, President of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui – credit Bangkok Post
Tourism officials are still working with authorities and ALQ owners on the pricing and booking systems for the start of the Samui Plus which are likely to see initial numbers being very low.
Both the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus schemes will be halted if new weekly numbers of Covid-19 are reported. In Phuket the figure is believed to be 90 and in Samui 20 per week.
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