Tourism Ministry puts Phuket “7+7 Island Hopping” scheme on the back burner
The proposed “7+7 Island Hopping” programme under the Phuket sandbox project has been postponed indefinitely, pending approval from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said on Friday.
The move follows Phuket authorities tightening transport screening measures via sea, air and land from August 3 to 16 to prevent Covid-19 patients from entering the province.
The “7+7 Island Hopping” programme aims to allow vaccinated foreign tourists who have stayed in Phuket for seven days to travel to other nearby islands for another seven days. These islands are: Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao in Surat Thani province; Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai and Railay Beach in Krabi province, and Khao Lak, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai in Phang Nga province. The other prerequisite is that the tourist must test negative for Covid-19 via RT-PCR test, which will be performed twice during their stay in Phuket.
Pipat added that Phuket’s increase in screening measures will not affect the Phuket sandbox program as it is primarily aimed at foreign tourists visiting the islands, while the screening measures will focus on preventing Thais who have high risk from entering the province.
On Friday Phuket reported 35 new cases, with cumulative cases in the province since April 1 rising to 1,108 patients, 30 of them visitors under the sandbox programme; 823 people have been cured and discharged while 12 people have died.