Koh Samui ALSQs prepared for new visitors

Koh Samui ALSQs prepared for new visitors

Health volunteers posted at each hotel

Local tourists taking photos with a scenic backdrop at W Koh Samui in Surat Thani. Dusida Worrachaddejchai
Local tourists taking photos with a scenic backdrop at W Koh Samui in Surat Thani. Dusida Worrachaddejchai

Hoteliers in Koh Samui are gearing up to welcome an influx of tourists with health volunteers at each alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) site to ensure the safety of tourists and locals if new infections are detected.

Ruengnam Chaikwang, president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) southern chapter for the east coast, said ALSQ hotels in Koh Samui have to prepare three hotel health volunteers for emergency cases.

Two hotel staff in the human resources department and the front office manager are responsible for monitoring possible infections of in-house guests during quarantine.

The general manager is in charge of coordinating with partner hospitals immediately after determining a suspected case, he said.

After the first batch of 32 hotel health volunteers has been successfully trained by the THA, Surat Thani Rajabhat University and the Public Health Ministry, the association plans to provide the two-day training programme to all hotels approved as ALSQ in Koh Samui.

Eight hotels passed the site inspection process conducted by the committee on Sept 23, while the other 15 hotels are queueing for inspection in October.

Those who applied for ALSQ status are mostly pool villas with sea views at isolated locations from community areas, far from main roads. These criteria help restrict the movement of tourists before they complete the 14-day quarantine.

Mr Ruengnam said Koh Samui, which is promoted as a smart city, also operates more than 1,000 CCTV cameras to monitor the situation in each municipality, in case tourists try to flee from the hotel.

He said the public health system is ready, as the island prepared 20 beds in the intensive care unit for Covid-19 patients as part of a worst-case scenario.

"Hospitals in Koh Samui already have experience from helping seven positive cases recover," Mr Ruengnam said. "Operators are confident that we can reopen for international tourists and cope with the virus situation on the island."

After the cabinet approved in principle the implementation of the special tourist visa (STV) scheme on Sept 15, a tourism plan is beginning to take shape and operators can prepare to receive visitors, said Vorasit Pongkumpunt, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.

He said foreigners may arrive before December, ahead of the initial schedule.

Mr Vorasit said operators plan to propose the Koh Samui bubble model under the STV to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting this month.

The island targets bringing in 200 tourists from a total of 1,200 tourists per month that are allowed to visit Thailand in the first stage of reopening.

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