ADT wants new scheme sped up
The Association of Domestic Travel (ADT) has urged the government to speed up the launch of the Tour Teaw Thai scheme under the Phuket sandbox in July to help tour firms hurt by the latest outbreak.
The Phuket sandbox is set to start on July 1, but tourists from Asian countries battling Covid-19 might not come en masse during the first phase of reopening, said ADT president Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn.
Moderate numbers of long-haul tourists are the key target market because the third quarter is the low season.
To stimulate tourism activities in the province, the government will launch a stimulus campaign called Tour Teaw Thai which will subsidise 40% of tourism packages not exceeding 5,000 baht for 1 million domestic travellers.
The domestic market can create positive momentum for Phuket sandbox, while waiting for mass inoculations in other major tourism destinations.
Thais are eager to travel and see the new improvements in Phuket which has become a safe destination.
To visit Phuket during pandemic period, visitors have to complete two doses of Covid-19 vaccine prior to arrival. International tourists are allowed to skip quarantine but can only travel within the island.
Mr Thanapol said the slow pace of vaccination roll out means that the majority of Thais may not complete two doses by the end of the year.
He urged the government to use the stimulus budget of 5 billion baht to include Covid-19 tests for tourists, such as the rapid test which costs 300-400 baht per head.
It should provide testing sites to build up confidence in tourism destinations that imposed travel restrictions.
"If foreigners can visit Phuket, it is important to simultaneously support the flow of local travellers and help tour operators maintain their businesses after facing a market slowdown since the second wave," Mr Thanapol said.
He said the association will propose this idea to the Tourism and Sports minister at the meeting this week.
According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, local tourists made 22.54 million trips from January to April, down 10.16% from the low base of the same period during the last lockdown.
The domestic market earned 121 billion baht in the first four months, a drop of 36.32%.