Phuket welcomes sea tourists

Phuket welcomes sea tourists

Phuket has welcomed its first group of foreign travellers arriving by sea under the Test & Go entry programme.

Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, director of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the four Indonesian nationals arrived from Singapore on a private yacht called The Maggie, which docked at Ao Por pier.

They were the first to arrive under the scheme by sea after the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) early this month eased travel restrictions to allow overseas arrivals by land and sea in addition to by air.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving by sea are required to take an RT-PCR test upon arrival and must remain aboard their vessels until the result is released.

Ms Nanthasiri said the easing of travel restrictions is a boon to local tourism and industry officials have been looking to tap into this market known for its high purchasing power.

A total of 91 yachts with 323 tourists and crew members visited Phuket last year, while 27 yachts with 92 passengers visited the province this January and February, according to Ms Nanthasiri.

Phuket is well-equipped to accommodate these travellers and can cater to their lifestyle, she said.

Other owners of yachts, as well as operators of several cruise ships, have expressed interest in entering the province under the Test & Go programme, she said, adding that with some 30 state-run and private piers and a deep-sea port the island is an ideal destination.

The revised Test & Go scheme went into effect on March 1, with the second RT-PCR test previously required on Day 5 now scrapped and replaced with ATK testing.

The revision also requires only one night of SHA Extra Plus or Alternative Quarantine accommodation booking on the day of arrival, instead of two nights.

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