Tomorrow sees the launch of the Samui Plus scheme, designed to welcome back tourists to the holiday island without the need for a formal quarantine.
Samui Plus is the second scheme in Thailand designed to restart the tourism industry in a safe and manageable way. The Phuket Sandbox launched on 1st July and has so far welcomed almost 5,000 foreign tourists.
Samui is expecting much lower numbers through their scheme however.
Details of the scheme were still coming through earlier this week and travel agents have reported uncertainty of the scheme as a key issue.
The Samui Plus scheme is also more restrictive than the scheme in Phuket, where free movement is allowed as soon as the first Covid-19 test comes back negative. On Samui tourists will be confined to hotel grounds for the first few days before restrictions are gradually relaxed.
There may also be confusion, or even reluctance to fly, due to the lockdown and restrictions currently in place in Bangkok, where all flights to Samui must initiate. Additional international flights will begin on 1st August from Singapore.
People who have tried to book travel have been frustrated by delays to the Certificate of Entry (COE) process. Until earlier this week official guidance was stating the they would be issued within 3 days. Now the guidance gives no time indication whatsoever as officials struggle to process applications promptly.
“We do not expect an influx of international travellers in the third quarter because the country is still dealing with a high number of cases.
Samui Plus aims to test the waters and prepare operators for more tourists when tourism rebounds.”Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, President Tourism Association of Koh Samui
At the moment only a handful of visitors are expected this week, the majority being from within the tourism industry. Flight bookings are currently very low all the way through to October.
Source: Bangkok Post
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