Phuket sets first-day goal of 1,500 int'l arrivals

Phuket sets first-day goal of 1,500 int'l arrivals

Some 1,500 international tourists are expected to arrive in Phuket on the first day of the Phuket Sandbox tourism scheme on July 1, as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pursuing a goal to welcome 100,000 visitors eventually and earn tourism revenue of 8.9 billion baht.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said on Thursday the TAT is overseeing the marketing for the scheme, as the agency is trying to revive Phuket's tourism industry by attracting 100,000 international tourists to the province by the end of the third quarter.

The scheme will allow foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated to enter Phuket without 14-day quarantine.

No details were available on how many bookings were confirmed. However, the news came as some traders on the island have expressed unease about a rapid reopening.

Mr Yuthasak said around 1,500 international tourists are expected in Phuket every day from July 1 until the end of the third quarter, generating income of 8.9 billion baht.

"The TAT is targeting Thai tourists as well, and it is expected they can generate up to 5.5 billion baht," he said.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said Thailand is ready to welcome foreign tourists and there is no need to worry about Covid-19.

Phuket International Airport has been working with the Ministry of Public Health to set up Covid-19 screening centres for swab tests.

Results will be issued in two to three hours.

If Covid is detected, the patient will be taken for treatment.

As a precautionary measure, checkpoints are also being set up to screen people travelling to and from the island.

For water transport, the Marine Department has worked with the Interior Ministry to arrange officials to take care of tourists, while land transport has also been improved for safety.

"If the Phuket Sandbox scheme is successful, it can expand to others provinces, such as Krabi, Phangnga, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Buri Ram.

"The outcome can bolster confidence among people, leading to a healthier economy and more robust tourism," he said.

Fourth Army Region commander Lt Gen Kriangkrai Srirak and 3rd Naval Area commander VAdm Cherngchai Chomcherngpat told a meeting associated with the Phuket Sandbox that the defence forces were ready to support the government in taking care of tourists in compliance with Covid-19 control measures.

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