Samui plans for 1,000 foreign tourists in July

Samui plans for 1,000 foreign tourists in July

Phuket to get 100,000 doses of vaccine on Thursday

With no foreign tourists, Mae Nam beach on Koh Samui is deserted on Sunday. (Photo: Dave Kendall)
With no foreign tourists, Mae Nam beach on Koh Samui is deserted on Sunday. (Photo: Dave Kendall)

SURAT THANI/PHUKET: Koh Samui has plans to reopen to the first batch of 1,000 foreign visitors who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 on July 1.

Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said efforts are being made to draw tourists back to the island, with a plan to vaccinate at least 70% of the population on Koh Samui to prepare for a safe reopening.

Foreign tourists must receive two doses of Covid-19 vaccine before they are allowed to visit the island, he said.

Once there, they would be required to stay in alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) facilities, although they would not be confined to their rooms.

Mr Ratchaporn said local tourism operators and state agencies came up with a campaign to promote the reopening of Koh Samui, which they called "Wonder Island", which has been approved in principle by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Under the plan, Bangkok Airways would provide flights to take inoculated foreign tourists from Singapore as well as the United States, Europe and Australia to Koh Samui from July 1, he said.

Koh Samui expects to receive about 1,000 foreign tourists in the first week of July, with 10 ALSQ facilities ready to take them in, he said.

Upon arriving, tourists would be escorted from the airport to their hotels.

On the second day of their visit, they would be tested for Covid-19.

If the results were negative, they would be allowed to engage in activities on "sealed routes'' between the 3rd-7th days of their stay.

Beach traffic is zero at Shiva Samui resort on Koh Samui on Sunday. (Photo: Dave Kendall)

Activities would include sunset viewing, dinner cruises and outdoor activities such as yoga and spa treatments on private beaches on the nearby Koh Tan and the Ang Thong archipelago, which are isolated from other tourists and local residents.

On the 8th-14th days, they would be allowed to travel around Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

On the 15th day, they would be tested for the virus again.

If no virus is detected, they would be allowed to travel to other provinces, Mr Ratchaporn said.

He said that the 14-day travel programme on Koh Samui was designed to make tourists feel relaxed, not confined.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine would arrive in Phuket on Thursday, adding the administration plans to vaccinate the first group of 50,000 people within seven days.

He said 80% of Phuket's population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity before foreign visitors are allowed in on July 1.

Phuket will be the first province to waive quarantine requirements for foreign visitors who have been vaccinated against Covid 19.

But the plan is contingent on vaccine availability.

The lack of foreign tourists has left Koh Samui even more tranquil than usual. (Photo: Dave Kendall)

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