The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has today issued a press release confirming that not only will the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programmes continue, but plans to reopen Krabi and Phang Nga will begin this month.
Mr. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Spokesperson of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), said the Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha had been keeping a close watch on the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programmes, and voiced confidence in the plans to revive the economy through tourism by gradually reopening destinations that could ensure the health and safety of both the tourists and local people.
Krabi and Phang Nga
Despite reports over the last few days that the 7+7 model will be postponed in light of the current Covid-19 outbreak, TAT have confirmed that the Krabi and Phang Nga 7+7 schemes will begin in August as planned.
This allows foreign tourists under the Sandbox programme to reduce the mandatory stay in Phuket from 14 to 7 days, after which another 7 nights can be spent in Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, and Railay Beach), and Phang Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao).
The 7+7 model is intended to encourage more tourists to visit Thailand where multi-centre holidays are very common. It is also hoped that it will encourage people to stay longer in the country. Tourists are averaging an 11 day stay under the Sandbox at present.
Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga have all escaped the most severe tightening of restrictions in Thailand announced yesterday.
The Phuket Sandbox launched on 1st July and, up until yesterday, 14,910 international tourists had arrived. 34 of these have so far tested positive for Covid-19 and were sent to medical treatment / quarantine.
Phuket has seen an increase in cases recently but these have been mostly attributed to locals, primarily construction camp workers and domestic travellers.
From tomorrow the majority of domestic travel into Phuket will be banned, apart from fully vaccinated essential workers and students. International arrivals under the Sandbox will continue as planned.
Restrictions in Phuket have increased, until at least 12th August, to help stop the spread of the virus.
Snooker and billiard venues, and premises with tables, game and internet shops, boxing and martial arts gym and stadiums and public and private swimming pools are all closed.
Indoor sports venues are open to fully vaccinated visitors, but only until 9.00pm, outdoor sports venues are open apart from any sport with physical contact.
Samui Plus started on 15th July and up until 1st August saw just 137 international arrivals, with one testing positive for Covid-19. There were also 211 who travelled from the Phuket Sandbox.
A recent outbreak of Covid-19 that accounted for 54 new cases has been brought under control and only affected locals.
Domestic travel has also been restricted to Samui.
Additional control measures on the islands are in place until further notice primarily meaning that gatherings of more than 50 people are not allowed. Shops, restaurants, indoor and outdoor sports venues are all allowed to open.
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