'Andaman Sandbox' next on govt agenda
Phangnga and Krabi are preparing to welcome back foreign tourists under the "Andaman Sandbox" scheme, which is scheduled for launch on Aug 1, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) on Tuesday.
If the scheme goes according to plan, the provinces, which lie along the Andaman coastline, will be the next to reopen to foreign tourists. Phuket debuted its sandbox model on July 1, while the Samui Plus model was launched officially last Thursday.
The proposal for the Andaman Sandbox scheme will be submitted to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration for further consideration on Wednesday, said TAT governor, Yuthasak Supasorn.
TAT Phangnga office director, Chuchart Oncharoen, said if approved, tourists who have already spent seven days in Phuket, followed by seven days in Phangnga or Krabi, will be allowed to visit Koh Yao, Koh Panyee as well as the Khao Lak coastline.
Eligible tourists will be allowed to visit attractions along a specified route from Ban Nam Khem in Khao Lak to Koh Yao Noi-Yai and Koh Panyee in Ao Phangnga National Park, he said.
During their required 14-day stay, the tourists' movements will be monitored with a tracker provided by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the private sector -- similar to the one used in the Phuket Sandbox model.
More than 300 businesses offering hospitality services in the area have also been certified by the Safety & Health Administration (SHA), he said.
Last Friday, the first batch of tourists under the Phuket Sandbox scheme continued their journey to Phangnga after their 14-day stay in Phuket. More tourists are expected in late October, Mr Chuchart said.
Mr Yuthasak said that once the Andaman Sandbox is approved, the TAT will ask the cabinet to approve similar schemes for Chiang Mai, Pattaya in Chon Buri, Buri Ram, Bangkok, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, in time for an October reopening.