On 15th July three islands in Surat Thani, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao, reopened to foreign tourists under the Samui Plus scheme.
However the scheme failed to attract the hoped for number of tourists, largely due to the restrictions in place, which included spending the first three days in the grounds of their approved hotel followed by limited routes and destinations permitted for the rest of their first week.
Up to 1st September just 524 tourists arrived in Samui under the programme, with tourist numbers boosted further by 331 arriving after completing the Phuket Sandbox 14 day minimum stay and 5 through the Sandbox 7+7 extension.
Tourism chiefs had always set lower targets than in Phuket, who had around 26,000 arrivals between 1st July and 1st September, but even so the numbers were disappointing.
Now however they are hoping to build on the Samui Plus scheme, and lessons learnt, to launch the Samui Sandbox from 1st October.
The Samui Sandbox would follow the Phuket example, where fully vaccinated travellers would be allowed to travel freely on Samui for the first 14 days of their trip, undertaking three Covid tests during that time.
Although the news has yet to be confirmed it is hoped that it would also see the Phuket Sandbox 7+7 extension being available with Samui as the initial destination. At present under the extension travellers can visit Phuket for the first 7 days and then to select areas of Samui, PhangNga and Krabi for the next 7 days.
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