The number of Covid-19 cases in Phuket, Thailand is rising rapidly but tourists continue to arrive on the island for the promise of quarantine-free holidays.
Main picture Cathay Pacific flight welcomed to Phuket International Airport credit AoT Phuket
Since the Phuket Sandbox started on 1st July there have been 19,166 international arrivals nut there is concern that the number of new arrivals will slow following the decision by the US to advise against travel to Thailand earlier this week.
“With a surge of daily infections and record high fatalities being reported, the flow of travellers will automatically drop, with or without travel advisories, as people are concerned about health and safety.”Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents
Thailand has been hit by its worst outbreak of the pandemic, with numbers of new cases and deaths rocketing since 1st April as the Delta variant spreads throughout the nation.
Phuket had managed to escape the worst effects of the outbreak but numbers of cases on the island are now rapidly increasing. Since the start of April there have been 1,609 cases of Covid-19. Almost 40% of those cases have been reported in the last two weeks with 297 last week and, so far this week, another 328.
The majority of the new cases in Phuket have been attributed to migrant workers from Myanmar, although there have been 52 cases among foreign travellers under the Sandbox.
Just as the US decision to advise against travel to Thailand hit home, so did hopes of new markets bringing in travellers.
Today the first direct flight from Hong Kong arrived with tourists for the Phuket Sandbox. The Cathay Pacific flight, carrying 134 passengers, received a water cannon welcome on arrival.
Cathay Pacific will now fly once a week into Phuket from Hong Kong. This will add to the services from EL AL Israel Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways already arriving from Abu Dhabi, Copenhagen, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Singapore, Tel Aviv and Zurich.
Later this month the Phuket extension is due to begin allowing visitors to complete 7 days in Phuket before travelling to areas of Krabi and Phang Nga for the next 7 days in a 7+7 programme.
Source: TAT, Bangkok Post
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