There are conflicting reports regarding the readiness of the Hua Hin Recharge tourism reopening plan, scheduled to start on 1st October.
Main picture Hua Hin, Thailand credit Thomas Oxford on Unsplash
Travel Daily Media are reporting that the Minister of Tourism and Sport, and chair of Hua Hin Recharge, has confirmed that the area is on track to reopen with 73% of the target population now vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Regarding the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s goal of 120-day deadline for fully reopening Thailand, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport has proceeded with the plans and achieved the reopening of phase one with the Phuket Sandbox.
Hence, we are moving forward to phase two – starting with the list of 5 pilot areas including Bangkok, Chonburi, Petchaburi, Prachuab Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)’s approval.”
“The key factors include the area’s readiness, which has been seen in Hua Hin and importantly the number of COVID-19 infections in Thailand in mid-September. If it shows a significant decrease and is under control, the ministry will proceed for approval from the CCSA. By the deadline, the 5 pilot areas are expected to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to over 70% of their population.”Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thai Minister of Tourism and Sport
However the Bangkok Post has a more cautionary tale, reporting that local businesses and communities are not yet ready to welcome back tourists.
The reports state that the Prachuap Khiri Khan chamber of commerce have said that most local hotels and restaurants need more time and money to implement the tough new requirements to meet Safety and Health Administration (SHA) standards, required to welcome back visitors under the scheme.
“The reopening should be postponed until we’re up to it.”Niphon Suwannawa, Honorary Advisor Prachuap Khiri Khan Chamber of Commerce
Local residents are believed to be not yet happy to welcome back tourists, fearing wider outbreaks.
Unlike Phuket, which served as the pilot quarantine-free destination, Hua Hin is not an island meaning that controlling visitor movements to the approved area will be difficult, if not impossible.
Even with its island location, Phuket has seen a large increase in Covid-19 cases, although these have been blamed on construction sites and migrant workers, mainly from Myanmar. Prachuap Khiri Khan has a 200km border with Myanmar which is feared increases the risk even further.
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