Songkhla plans opening door to Malaysian tourists with ‘Dannok Sandbox’ scheme
Songkhla is planning to launch the “Dannok Sandbox” scheme to help boost the economy of Sadao district, which sits on the border with Malaysia.
Retail stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses related to tourism in the area have been suffering badly from the impact of Covid-19 because 90 per cent of their customers are Malaysian tourists.
The private sector said the sandbox scheme was initiated because Malaysia has administered 31.8 million Covid-19 doses so far and is expected to cover 70 per cent of its population by October. The opening of the Sadao border is also in line with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s plan to reopen Thailand by October.
“The scheme is called ‘Dannok Sandbox’ because Malaysian tourists visiting Sadao refer to the area as Dannok,” related businesses said.
“This border is the only road link with Malaysia, so it will be easy to contain the spread of Covid-19.”
Once the scheme kicks off, it will help create 10,000 jobs and will become a model for other border provinces, a hotel operator said.
Though the Dannok Sandbox is still at the planning stage, it is hoped the district will start bustling again under strict measures to tackle the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Before the scheme kicks off, all 30,000 or so people living in the area must be fully vaccinated and government agencies will have to complete feasibility studies.