PHUKET: Fifty-nine wealthy foreign tourists arrived in this southern island province on Sunday night and went into "villa quarantine" at the Sri Panwa Hotel, authorities said on Monday.
The first group of 13 arrived at about 8.20pm on a chartered Garuda Indonesia flight from Indonesia to Phuket International Airport.
They were welcomed by deputy governor Pichet Panapong, director of Patong Hospital Dr Muanprae Boonlom and disease control officials.
The second group arrived on another chartered flight from Indonesia about two hours later.
Mr Pichet said the 59 tourists are from the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Finland. They had converged in Indonesia before proceeding on chartered flights to Phuket.
All of them are staying at the Sri Panwa Hotel in villa quarantine. For the first five days of their 14-day quarantine, the visitors will be required to stay in their rooms. After that, they can make use of the facilities within the grounds of the hotel, Mr Pichet explained.
Their arrival marks the debut of Thailand's villa quarantine scheme.
Upon arriving at Phuket airport, the tourists completed immigration and customs procedures before they were taken to the X-Terminal building inside the airport complex for Covid-19 screening. Afterwards, they were taken to the hotel, Mr Pichet said.
Meanwhile, Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman at the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said on Monday the first group of 41 tourists from South Korea went into golf quarantine in Nakhon Nayok last Thursday.
They are staying at Artitaya Golf & Resort under the coordination of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's (TAT) office in Seoul, South Korea after their disease control measures were approved by the CCSA, Dr Apisamai said.
Similar to villa quarantine, under golf quarantine tourists must stay at approved golf resorts for 14 days, during which they can play golf and engage in other outdoor activities under strict disease control measures, Dr Apisamai said.
Jiranee Poonnayom, director of the TAT's Seoul office, said that after completing their 14-day quarantine at the golf resort in Nakhon Nayok, the South Korean tourists will fly to Chiang Mai to play golf there.
The South Korean tourists are expected to spend about 13 million baht during their two-month stay in Thailand, or about 5,571 baht per head per day, in addition to the cost of golf quarantine, which comes at 69,000 baht each, Ms Jiranee said.