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FRIDAY, October 07, 2022
Songkhla private sector recommends Dan Nok Sandbox

Songkhla private sector recommends Dan Nok Sandbox

THURSDAY, September 09, 2021

The Songkhla private sector has proposed the “Dan Nok Sandbox” initiative to reopen the province to cross-border trading with Malaysia.

“It has been almost two years that Dan Nok city, which is located on the Thai-Malaysian border in Songkhla’s Sadao district, has ceased cross-border trading under government order’s to curb Covid-19 from spreading,” Sitthiphong Sitthiphatprapha, adviser to the Dan Nok Entrepreneurs Association, said earlier this week.

“We would like to propose a sandbox initiative in Dan Nok similar to the Phuket tourism sandbox scheme that allows vaccinated tourists to visit the island without the need to quarantine to jump-start the local tourism industry,” he said.

“We believe that now would be the appropriate time to start the programme as the prime minister’s promise of reopening the country in 120 days will reach its deadline in October, while the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia has been gradually improving. The Malaysian government has estimated that 70 per cent of the population would be fully vaccinated in October as well,” Sitthiphong said.

Songkhla private sector recommends Dan Nok Sandbox

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Songkhla private sector recommends Dan Nok Sandbox

He proposed that under the Dan Nok Sandbox scheme, vaccinated visitors from Malaysia can enter Songkhla with no requirement of passport or quarantine, but they have to stay in a 2.7km radius of the border.

Other requirements include a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours before arrival and evidence of a hotel (or similar accommodation) booking in Dan Nok for one night at least.

“We believe the programme can help jump-start cross border trading and other related economic activities in Dan Nok,” he said.

Songkhla private sector recommends Dan Nok Sandbox

The private sector in Dan Nok also urged the government to provide 30,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine for 15,000 entrepreneurs and residents who will need to interact with foreign visitors in the early phase of the programme.

“We believe that with additional vaccines, Dan Nok can achieve a 100 per cent vaccination rate by October,” Sitthiphong pointed out.

He estimated that in the first two months of the programme (November-December), around 30,000 to 40,000 visitors from Malaysia would enter the city.

“If the programme proves to be successful, we can move forward into phase two, which is to allow foreign visitors to travel to other districts of Songkhla, such as Muang and Hat Yai,” he added.