Hua Hin opts for Phuket's approach
Scheme eyes 100,000 arrivals in last quarter
Hua Hin's reopening plan has adopted the quarantine-free approach from the Phuket sandbox, while the tourism sector is confident about achieving herd immunity by the slated Oct 1 reopening.
Krod Rojanastien, president of the Thai Spa Association and head of the Hua Hin Recharge programme, said it will use the same model as Phuket but on a smaller scale.
As of Aug 30, the vaccination rate reached 55% of the 90,564 inhabitants of Hua Hin Municipality, of which 59.2% received the first jab and 22.2% were fully inoculated.
Mr Krod said he would hold talks with tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn to help allocate 30,000-40,000 doses by this month.
The goal to welcome 100,000 international travellers, generating 1.2 billion baht, in the fourth quarter despite the challenge posed by the pandemic in Thailand which has triggered travel warnings from several countries.
"If the infection rate in Thailand continues to drop and many countries put Thailand back on the safe list, we can expect a travel rebound in the last three months," Mr Krod said.
Meanwhile, operators in Hua Hin are working with the Public Health Ministry and the Transport Ministry to welcome private jets via Hua Hin airport.
High-spending tourists who can afford private jets are also a key market for wellness tourism in Hua Hin, if the airport is ready with safety protocols.
Hotels in Hua Hin, with only 56 open of the 200 in total, are applying for the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus standard.
"We have to create diverse packages to attract tourists such as golf, wellness and community tourism," Mr Krod said.
Tourists can travel independently or book packages under Hua Hin Recharge, which covers 86.3 square kilometres between Hua Hin Municipality and Nong Kae district.
He said if tourists slip out from the reopened area, there is no penalty for them, but investigations by operators will be conducted case by case.
Under the draft standard operating procedures, vaccinated tourists have to take an RT-PCR test at the airport and will be transferred directly to the hotel. They can roam freely within Hua Hin after getting a negative test result.