Phuket hopes to overcome virus crisis and welcome foreign tourists from July
The next two months are crucial for Phuket as it attempts to surmount the current Covid-19 crisis and see the government’s widely welcomed “sandbox” scheme for the tourism hub go ahead in July as planned.
Governor Narong Woonciew meanwhile voiced confidence that his province would be able to deal with the health crisis.
Under the scheme, foreign tourists who have been inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed entry into the province from July 1 without having to undergo quarantine.
Phuket authorities wholeheartedly believe the scheme will draw tourists back to the province.
Narong told the press that the province is trying to control and defeat the present Covid-19 wave in order to attract more domestic tourists from May and receive foreign tourists from July.
“We plan to control the new wave of pandemic within the last two weeks of April in a bid to at least draw more domestic tourists to Phuket,” he said.
Narong said 15 per cent of tourists cancelled their trips to Phuket during the Songkran holidays, while 30 per cent suspended their travel and the remaining went ahead and visited the province.
By June 15, some 70 per cent of Phuket’s population must be vaccinated, he said.
Presently, more than 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been used to inoculate 22 per cent of the population.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic took Thailand by storm, Phuket earned tourism revenue of more than Bt470 billion a year.
Other top destinations such as Pattaya, Krabi, Phang-nga, Surat Thani and Chiang Mai will also later be opened to international tourists once more people have been vaccinated and preventive measures are firmly in place.