Work is continuing with local authorities, organisations and business getting ready for the reopening of borders for foreign, vaccinated, tourists from 15th July under the Samui Plus scheme.
Main picture credit Yoori Koo on Unsplash
Thai News has reported on trials of the airport screening process at Samui International airport yesterday.
A private jet from Switzerland arrived at the airport and staff immediately started the entry and health screening process. The tourists were temperature screened upon disembarkation, ushered through passport controls, had their documents verified, were screened for COVID-19 symptoms, cleared customs, and transported to their hotel, where they will be serving their quarantine period.
The Samui Plus scheme now has 400 rooms available at Alternative Local State Quarantine (ASQ) facilities plus 320 premises certified for the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration’s SHA Plus accommodation standard across Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Tao.
Speaking about the process of a gradual stepped programme for accepting overseas arrivals, C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett said “the learnings from the first week of the Phuket Sandbox will likely follow a similar pattern. Over 2,300 international arrivals have come to the island with more than 140,000 confirmed hotel nights booked in SHA Plus hotels through August. Demand has remained strong and is now demonstrated, which bodes well for Koh Samui’s chances.”
He added “an ancillary impact of the Sandbox is the restoration of regularly scheduled direct flights between the two islands from 16th July starting with four flights a week this month and becoming daily in August. In analyzing tourism, we look to the sky for answers as the logical starting point, and this increased airlift is a key driver for the tourism economy.”
While Thailand’s tourism fortunes remain highly focused on islands, Bill Barnett added that “it’s important to remember that Koh Samui and Phuket remain only small pieces of a bigger puzzle and that even Robinson Crusoe had to eventually get onto a raft and return to the larger world at hand. Until the entire country gets better, the sandbox remains a relatively small stage.”
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