Thailand Pass glitches hinder reopening
Operators flooded with complaints
The unstable Thailand Pass has caused inconvenience for tourists, while tourism operators urge the channel to seek help regarding registration.
Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said since the Thailand Pass was activated as a replacement for the certificate of entry (COE) on Nov 1, the association has received a lot of complaints from tourists seeking help from tour operators after facing technical problems with the system.
"We encountered technical problems with the system as many tour operators came to us and asked us to solve these issues that their clients faced. Many of them have had problems with the registration process," said Mr Ratchaporn.
He said even though Thailand Pass is designed to be friendly and easier to use, tour operators don't have a clue how to help tourists get through those processes when encountering such technical problems.
"The COE was more complicated, but at least tour operators learned how to help tourists fill in the whole applications. But for Thailand Pass, we don't know whom we should coordinate with or seek help when encountering technical problems," he said.
During the first four days, there were 65,338 registrants for the Thailand Pass, of which only 12,607 were approved.
Mr Ratchaporn said Samui already has 1,300 additional bookings for November and the number should grow to 3,000 by the end of this month.
However, tour operators submitted their proposal to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), urging the body to allow passengers entering the island via transit flights from Singapore which could be more convenient for tourists from long-haul countries that use Singapore as a hub.
This option will help lighten passenger traffic at Suvarnabhumi airport, while tourists don't have to spend time in Bangkok waiting for the Covid-19 test result and connecting flights.
He said RT-PCR tests could be conducted upon arrival at Samui international airport as it has already prepared adequate test capacity for inbound tourists.
As of Nov 4, Samui received 237 tourists under the Test & Go scheme, which requires no quarantine and area restrictions.
Mr Ratchaporn said hotel businesses in Samui are starting to see positive signs, particularly from the new properties in top-tier categories, such as Hyatt Regency and Centara Reserve, which ensure that the island remains attractive for hotel investors.
He said the average occupancy rate rose from single digits to 20% this month, while almost all service sectors, including hotels, tour companies, transportation, pub and restaurants, have already certified with SHA Plus standard.
"We don't have problems with obtaining SHA Plus like many restaurants in Bangkok are facing now as the island prepared for this standard since enrolling in the sandbox in July, while over 50% of residents have completed booster jabs," said Mr Ratchaporn.