Call for concrete reopening plan

Call for concrete reopening plan

Government urged to woo foreign tourists

An international flight is welcomed to Phuket in a water tunnel as the Phuket Sandbox reopening project started on July 1. (Government House photo)
An international flight is welcomed to Phuket in a water tunnel as the Phuket Sandbox reopening project started on July 1. (Government House photo)

Business operators in soon-to-be-reopened provinces have urged the government to impose a clear and decisive plan to attract tourists back during the upcoming high season.

"After getting an approval, the marketing campaign will need at least a month to generate demand, so operators and foreign travel agents want to hear an official announcement to manage high season bookings," said Charintip Tiyaphorn, president of the Tourism Council of Krabi.

There are scheduled flights from Singapore and Malaysia due to fly to Krabi airport by Oct 31, and there will be flights from Scandinavian countries on Nov 1.

She said the province started a rehearsal of the entry process at the airport in July and will continue until the whole province reopens on Nov 1, or whenever vaccines have been fully administered.

The concrete reopening plan will assure tourists about travelling to Krabi, she said, while international flights can resume as planned.

On Monday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved further reopening and the easing of the quarantine period to seven days for visitors who have been fully vaccinated and have received a negative RT-PCR test on arrival.

Starting from Oct 1, travellers can travel directly to Krabi with two additional destinations of either Klong Muang, Tubkaak, Phang Nga, or Koh Samui. However, it will depend on the vaccination rate in each area.

The CCSA also endorsed the next phase of reopening from Nov 1, which consists of five destinations previously set to welcome tourists by Oct 1, namely Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phetchaburi.

There are also three additional areas -- Koh Phayam in Ranong, Chiang Khan in Loei, and Muang district in Buriram -- included in this phase, as well as Udon Thani and Nong Khai that were proposed for this phase with the aim of helping cross-border travels.

The government's clear regulations will allow operators to start launching marketing plans, while travellers from long-haul markets can plan trips ahead, said Pongsakorn Ketprapakorn, president of the Tourism Council of Phang Nga.

He said there was confusion around the reopening which needed to be discussed among tourism-related agencies for more clarification, such as whether tourists can take a one-day trip to another province during the first seven days of arrival or not.

He said his province had administered vaccines to 56% of its residents and still needed 240,000 doses to reach the benchmark for reopening on Nov 1.

Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said the recent relaxation of the reopening plan will help generate demand to Koh Samui as the hotel occupancy rate recently stood at only 15%.

However, the tourism situation still depends on other factors such as the resumption of flights between Thailand and Russia to boost arrivals to the island.

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