Push to promote Phuket after murder

Push to promote Phuket after murder

US travel warning could hurt tourism

A heavy tourism marketing drive will be launched overseas to spread the message of Phuket being safe after the murder of a Swiss woman and as the US placed Thailand on the list of countries with a Covid-19 alert, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The murder case has no immediate impact on tourism bookings through the Phuket sandbox programme, as reported by 29 TAT offices overseas, said Nanthasiri Ronsiri, director of TAT's Phuket office.

However, in the longer term, the pandemic might put pressure on Phuket's tourism outlook, especially with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adding Thailand to the highest Level 4 list of countries -- "very high" -- which urges fully vaccinated US citizens to avoid travel to Thailand due to the risk of exposure to the virus and its variants.

The priority now was to communicate to people overseas and tour operators that Phuket, being the most vaccinated province, is far removed from the pandemic situation in the rest of the country, said Ms Nanthasiri.

The message must be put out urgently with a heavy marketing campaign to be implemented.

Phuket has a strong public health safety record and is medically equipped in terms of personnel and facilities to handle the pandemic, she said.

Meanwhile, the provincial health office has reported a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in Phuket, especially among migrant workers from Myanmar employed mostly in the fishery industry.

Koosak Kookiatkul, head of the office, said Phuket logged 297 new Covid-19 cases last week, and 328 so far this week.

"New cases are coming on a wave of the Delta variant, which spreads 60-70% faster than the outbreak in April," he said.

"There are more patients as we have more visitors and inbound workers."

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