Businesses and government officials in Phuket floated a raft of new ideas to lure foreign tourists back to the resort island, as they called on the government to allow tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter without needing quarantine.
At a meeting to brainstorm rehabilitation plans for the tourist destination, Chamber of Commerce President Thanusak Phungdet suggested local restaurants come up with new dishes and urged the provincial administration to keep public transport fares inexpensive to attract more visitors.
He also suggested holding a campaign, in which hotels and other accommodation providers offer rooms and services at the same price, with the help from the private sector and the provincial administration.
Most importantly, however, all stakeholders agreed to rehabilitate the province for nine months, he said, before adding the meeting's participants urged the government to allow foreign tourists to enter the island starting from Oct 1.
Under the proposal, foreign tourists must be vaccinated against Covid-19 before they arrive in Phuket, said the President of Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) Bhummikitti Raktaengam.
"However, they won't be required to stay in 14-day quarantine [then]," he said.
Mr Bhummikitti also suggested that 70% of the island's residents should be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
A roadshow aimed at promoting tourism in Phuket would be organised in Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Udon Thani and Bangkok, he added.
The president of the Federation of Phuket Industries, Chernporn Karnjanasaya, said Phuket businesses should strive to make halal food more available, in order to attract more Muslim tourists from the Andaman coast and the South.
Deputy Phuket governor, Pichet Panapong, said the administration acknowledged the private sector's suggestions, before adding that the recovery plans for Phuket must be effectively executed.
"Phuket has already allowed people from other provinces in without quarantine to keep the local economy afloat, except Samut Sakhon," he said.