The Samui Plus project, designed to welcome tourists back to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in Thailand, has seen just 431 foreign tourists arrive since it was launched on 15th July up until 24th August.
Main picture Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
The project always envisaged lower numbers than were entering the Phuket Sandbox due to restricted flights and increased restrictions. However the numbers are less than half of the 1,000 target for the first month. Phuket attracted 14,000 tourists in its first month.
So far just 34 tourists have continued their journey from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan and 22 to Koh Tao.
Unlike in Phuket where fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to visit without the need to quarantine, visitors arriving direct in Samui must spend their first 7 nights in Area Quarantine facilities, a major disincentive to most travellers.
The majority of the tourists had previously entered Thailand through the more accessible and less restrictive Sandbox in Phuket before flying to Samui to continue their trip.
These arrivals however stopped on 3rd August as Thailand tightened internal travel restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Direct flights between the two areas only resumed earlier this week.
The recent launch of the Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension was seen as a being major boost to future tourist numbers for the islands.
However the moving of Thailand to Level 4 Alert in the US earlier this month and Red List status in the UK, announced yesterday and due to start on 30th August, were further blows to future tourist numbers. The US and UK have so far been the two largest sources of tourists to Thailand since the reopening of borders.
Source: Bangkok Post
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