Extended Phuket stay to cut demand

Extended Phuket stay to cut demand

Tourists have to stay at least 14 nights

Kata Beach in Phuket during the tourism slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Dusida Worrachaddejchai)
Kata Beach in Phuket during the tourism slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Dusida Worrachaddejchai)

The extended length of stay from seven to 14 days for vaccinated tourists visiting Phuket will reduce inbound demand by half during the first month of reopening, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

The ministry previously estimated 29,700 arrivals in the first month before increasing the mandatory stay in Phuket. To revert back to seven days, there should be no new infections in July, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

According to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (Cesa), inoculated tourists have to stay in the island for at least 14 nights and undergo three swab tests on the day of arrival, the sixth day and 12th day, before departing for other destinations.

He said the Phuket sandbox should receive approval by the Royal Gazette at the end of June.

"The ministry is still committed to the goal of 129,000 travellers in the first three months as more of them will arrive in August and September," Mr Phiphat said.

He said there are two groups who are confirmed to visit the island via the sandbox scheme, including tourists from the US on July 9, while 400-500 British navy personnel taking part in a naval drill in the region will stop by Phuket for one week at the end of July.

However, tourists travelling from South Asian and African countries, which are rated high-risk regions, are not permitted to enter until the situations in those countries improve.

The ministry plans to coordinate with the Phuket governor, the Tourists Police Bureau, the Marine Department and the private sector to help monitor tourists in order to prevent them from leaving the island during the restricted period.

Yesterday, the ministry discussed financial aid with five tourism associations -- the Association of Thai Travel Agents, the Thai Hotels Association, the Association of Domestic Travel, the Thai Transportation Operators Association and the Thai Spa Association.

Mr Phiphat said the ministry will lead the private sector to a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow and the Finance Ministry, aimed at establishing a tourism fund to help operators shore up liquidity and prepare for the new flow of tourists by Oct 1.

The 10-billion-baht fund could be derived from the government's 500-billion-baht loan decree set up to mitigate the impact of the outbreak.

Registered operators with tax licences can access the financial scheme with more relaxation under a cross-guarantee measure to allow firms in the tourism sector to act as guarantors for each other.

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