Phuket to launch recovery campaign

Phuket to launch recovery campaign

Province looks beyond Covid-19

Representatives of the House committee on foreign affairs inspect a process to screen visitors at Phuket airport late last month. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Representatives of the House committee on foreign affairs inspect a process to screen visitors at Phuket airport late last month. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

Phuket is preparing to implement the "Together Phuket Stepping Forward" campaign following the government's policy to allow tourists from low-risk countries to enter without a quarantine period on Nov 1.

Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said the idea was initiated after the success of the Phuket Sandbox scheme. The campaign is an agreement among related parties, resulting from Thursday's town hall meeting with the Phuket Tourist Association and other private and public agencies about next steps in the province.

Mr Narong said Phuket plans to develop the province as a hub for tourism, education and service innovation between 2023 and 2027.

The province will also expand revenue generation across the island, as well as enhance its sandbox scheme to handle all contingencies, Mr Narong said.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Phuket earned 442 billion baht from tourism in 2019.

Revenue gradually dropped due to low numbers of tourists during the pandemic. However the situation changed with the launch of the Phuket Sandbox, where the province earned 2.14 billion baht from 70,229 tourists -- 31,287 of whom were foreigners -- who visited during July to September.

As of this month, most foreign tourists were from the United States, England, Israel, France, and Germany.

"Health services in Phuket will be enhanced to also further assist the tourism market, while we will strive to ensure hospitality services exceed tourists' expectations," said Mr Narong.

Deputy Phuket governor Piyapong Chuwong said the province has security measures in place to help ensure the safety of domestic and international tourists.

Phuket Tourist Association president Bhummikitti Ruktaengam said the sandbox scheme data was updated on Sunday. It showed that 51,748 tourists each spent 62,000 baht per trip.

However, he said the figures showed the province needs 10,000 tourists to enter the island per day, to distribute revenue broadly and increase the employment rate.

Some measures, including lowering Covid-19 insurance policy conditions and fees for at-risk groups, have been proposed to the government, Mr Bhummikitti said.

If some measures are approved, the province would be able to generate more revenue, he said.

Dr Weerasak Lorthongkham, director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, said the infection rate in the province had fallen due to strong vaccine distribution and active case finding.

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