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  • Phuket banking on 129,000 arrivals

    Phuket is set to welcome 129,000 international tourists in the first three months of the quarantine-free programme, while the government will team up with airlines to subsidise 100,000 one-way domestic air tickets, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

    TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the reopening initiative -- Phuket Sandbox -- is expected to attract 30,000-40,000 tourists per month with long-haul markets being the main target.

    He said seven-day tour packages in Phuket will cost around 150,000-200,000 baht per person, which is significantly higher than average spending per of around 50,000 baht per trip prior to the outbreak.

    Tourists have to board a direct flight to the island to ensure safety, but if time slots at the airport are fully booked, tourists can transit at Suvarnabhumi airport via a sealed terminal.

    TAT also discussed with Thai Airways and Thai Smiles Airways a subsidy scheme for domestic air fares of 1,000-2,000 baht for tourists who visit Phuket via the sandbox programme and will expand this joint promotion with all local airlines.

    Mr Yuthasak said tourism would gear up towards this year's tourism goal of 3-4 million visitors in the fourth quarter after another nine areas in the reopening plan are included.

    The agency plans to propose standard operating procedures (SOP) of entry process for international arrivals, such as procedures on Covid-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration for approval within this month.

    After the SOP is approved and once there is an official announcement in the Royal Gazette, tour operators can proceed with sales and marketing plans.

    TAT also has to work on supply development and vaccination plans, including risk management in the case of an emergency.

    He said the country has to watch out for new infection clusters, especially in Bangkok, as it may affect the vaccine distribution to Phuket.

    "The new outbreak in Thailand didn't affect tourism sentiment in foreign markets as the media in each country turned their focus towards the situation in India and domestic cases in their own countries," said Mr Yuthasak.

    "However, travel agents expressed concern that the virus situation may affect the reopening timeline which prompted TAT to confirm that everything is running as scheduled."

    He said travel agents are waiting for clear entry regulations, so they can offer packages to their customers.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • Right on time for Monsoon season
      • Phuket to open to fully vaccinated, COVID-19 free foreign tourists without quarantine in July

      The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will proceed with its plans to attract foreign tourists to the resort island of Phuket, without compulsory quarantine, starting July 1st this year, with flight promotions as an incentive.

      The plan offers the first quarantine-free option for international arrivals in Thailand since the pandemic started last year, to help the crippled tourism industry.

      The TAT aims to attract 129,000 visitors to Thailand in the third quarter of this year, through the “Phuket Sandbox” project, where fully vaccinated tourists, who have tested negative for COVID-19, can visit Phuket for a minimum period of seven days, before travelling to other provinces with airports, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said today (Thursday).

      For interprovincial air travel, the TAT plans to cover the fares for one-way tickets, priced at no more than 2,000 Baht, while further details are still under discussion.

      The project will focus on attracting tourists from long-haul countries, such as the United States, EU countries and the United Kingdom which, according to the TAT, will allow their citizens to travel to abroad from this Monday (May 17th).

      Discussions are underway for travel from Phuket to nearby areas, while Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Buriram, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan are expected to open for quarantine-free visits, following the Phuket model, in October.:

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • Thailand - Government sets the ball rolling for resumption of international flights in November

        Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Friday told the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to coordinate with related parties and prepare for the opening of the country for international flights in November.

        “During a meeting with CAAT executives today, I have ordered them to work with public health offices, airlines and airport operators to prepare for international flights as planned in November,” he said.

        “The Airports of Thailand Plc, U-Tapao International Airport and Bangkok Airways Plc, as the private operators of airports in Thailand, were also told to draft measures for international travellers in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration in opening the country.”

        The CAAT meeting on Friday also acknowledged the results of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme and the Universal Security Audit Programme of the International Civil Aviation Organization, as well as the International Aviation Safety Assessment of the Federal Aviation Administration on airlines and airports in Thailand.:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • Thai Adds Phuket Flights Ahead Of Planned July Reopening

          Thai Airways has added four non-stops routes from Europe to Phuket – including from Heathrow – along with two from within Asia. The reason: the opening up of Phuket from July, which is set to be a testbed for the wider country. They’ll also be non-stop because they must be, at least for now.

          Thai Airways will use the B777-300ER, as shown here, on non-stop services from Heathrow and Frankfurt to Phuket. Photo: Getty Images.
          Thai Airways has put on sale the following six routes, with the summer period coinciding with the low season in Thailand.

          Copenhagen-Phuket: once-weekly from July 2nd-September 24th using the A350-900
          Delhi-Phuket: twice-weekly July 2nd-September 26th; A350-900
          Frankfurt-Phuket: once-weekly July 2nd-October 1st; B777-300ER
          Hong Kong-Phuket: once-weekly July 2nd-September 24th; A350-900
          London Heathrow-Phuket: once-weekly July 3rd-September 25th; B777-300ER
          Paris CDG-Phuket: once-weekly July 2nd-September 24th; B777-300ER

          In the recent past, Thai Airways has served Phuket non-stop from Copenhagen, Delhi, Frankfurt, and Hong Hong. Frankfurt, for example, began in November 2016 but became winter-seasonal in 2019, so its summer flights are a return to this flying. Copenhagen, meanwhile, has always been winter-only, until now.

          One-way travel

          Aircraft will route to and from Bangkok, with Phuket available non-stop only in one direction: to the island. This is because it is a requirement is to fly non-stop into Phuket, at least until connections over Bangkok are permitted once again. For example, Heathrow is scheduled as:

          Bangkok-Heathrow: 00:55-07:15
          Heathrow-Phuket: 12:30-06:10+1 (the next day)
          Phuket-Bangkok: 07:45-09:15

          Why is it happening?

          Thailand’s borders have remained closed for a long time, with a tentative reopening date of July 1st. This is likely to change further depending on the progress of Thailand’s third wave of coronavirus.

          Vaccinations will be all-important to visiting Phuket, among various other requirements, with Phuket expected to lead the country’s recovery effort ahead of other areas. As is often the case with COVID, uncertainty surrounds the situation. In an article published on May 11th, The Points Guy pointed out that the quarantine-free agreement has been reversed.

          Of course, returning home may also prove problematic, especially as Thailand is not on England’s green list of countries. Instead, it is amber, which requires passengers to quarantine at home.

          Europe to Phuket

          It’s no surprise that Thai Airways has chosen these six routes to Phuket. After all, most routes were served by the airline before the pandemic hit, showing how important they were to both the island and the carrier.

          Indeed, across all airlines, passenger traffic to/from the four European destinations is strong, based on 2019 booking data obtained from OAG Traffic Analyzer.

          London: approximately 160,000 point-to-point round-trip passengers
          Frankfurt: 145,000
          Paris: 130,000
          Copenhagen: 66,000

          TUI Airways will resume Gatwick-Phuket on a once-weekly basis from this October, while TUI Nordic is set to restart Copenhagen-Phuket from November.

          London to Phuket
          Thai Airways carried the most London to Phuket passengers in 2019, with about 53,000 estimated to have connected over Suvarnabhumi. It was the carrier’s largest transit market, with the rest of its top-10 being London to Ko Samui, Krabi, Auckland, Hanoi, Perth, Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, Melbourne, and Siem Reap.

          The Gulf carriers have really grown in Phuket in recent years, with up to 45 weekly departures in 2019. It is therefore no surprise that they were also important in reaching Phuket, although Qatar and the UAE are now on the UK’s red list of countries.

          Qatar Airways via Doha saw the second-highest number of London passengers, followed by Emirates via Dubai. Then it was:

          Singapore Airlines and SilkAir via Singapore
          Etihad Airways over Abu Dhabi
          Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur
          Air China over Beijing Capital
          Aeroflot via Moscow Sheremetyevo:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • There is no virulent Indian strain, so Delhi-Phuket makes perfect sense.
            Originally posted by Ergenburgensmurgen;n186588
            What are you talking about, I don't post on Teakdoor.



            • Vaccination in Phuket to be speeded up ahead of July 1 reopening to foreign tourists

              The government would accelerate vaccination in Phuket to create herd immunity before reopening the country to foreign tourists on July 1 this year, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Saturday.

              Vaccination in Phuket to be speeded up ahead of July 1 reopening to foreign tourists

              He was speaking after overseeing the operation to administer Covid-19 vaccines to people in the province.

              Anutin and government officials also delivered Sinovac vaccines, Fah Talai Jone (Andrographis Paniculata) medicine and personal protective equipment to medical staff at Vachira Phuket Hospital.

              Phuket is the first province under the government's plan to reopen the country to foreign tourists in a bid to boost the country's economy.

              To achieve the goal Anutin said 70 per cent of the province's population, or 466,587 people aged 18 and above, tourism staff and immigrant workers, must receive their Covid-19 jab.

              He added that the government would administer the first jab for them by June and the second jab by August.

              "So far, the government has delivered 203,480 doses of vaccines to Phuket; 100,700 people have received their first jab and 93,265 people their second jab," he said.

              He added that about 350,000 doses of vaccines would be delivered to the province this month in a bid to create herd immunity and gain confidence among foreign tourists.

              "The government and private agencies have already prepared measures to support the plan to reopen the country in every aspect," he added.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • Phuket imposes tight restrictions on arrivals by boat and car from today

                From today (Tuesday), anyone arriving on Phuket Island by vehicle or boat must prove that they have received two COVID-19 vaccine shots or have passed an RT-PCR or rapid antigen test a maximum of 72 hours prior to their arrival, otherwise they will be subject to 14-days of home quarantine and placed under the close watch of officials in the province.

                The new travel restriction was imposed by the provincial communicable disease committee of Phuket, in a renewed effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 onto the resort island.

                Those who defy the restriction may face a fine of up to 100,000 Baht and/or maximum of one-year imprisonment under the Communicable Disease Act, and/or a fine of up to 40,000 Baht and/or a maximum of two-year imprisonment under the Emergency Decree.

                Almost 600 COVID-19 infections have been found in Phuket since April 1st.

                The restriction will remain in force until further notice.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Thailand - How to get a vaccine passport for overseas travel

                  The Department of Disease Control (DDC) announced on June 1 that Thais who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 can apply for a vaccine passport that will allow them to travel overseas.

                  “The DDC will issue a certificate to people who have received vaccines that are registered under Thailand’s Drug Law or are certified by the World Health Organisation,” said DDC director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong.

                  “The document must carry the signature of the Department of Disease Control’s director-general or a chosen nominee, as well as the stamp of the agency. One vaccine passport will certify only one individual,” he said.

                  The following documents are required if you want to apply for a vaccine passport:

                  1. A valid passport that will not expire in the next six months, along with a photo copy.

                  2. Identification card, along with a photo copy.

                  3. Certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 issued by the DDC, along with a copy.

                  4. An application fee of THB50 per passport.

                  In case a proxy applies for the vaccine passport for another person, the proxy must also present a letter of authorisation and their identification card, along with a copy.

                  The DDC will issue a vaccine passport via these four channels:

                  - Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, Nonthaburi. Tel: 0-2951-1170-9 extn 3430

                  - Urban Institute for Disease Prevention and Control, Bangkok. Tel: 0-2521-1668

                  - International Communicable Disease Control Port, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samut Prakan. Email: [email protected]

                  - General Communicable Disease Division, Department of Disease Control head office, Nonthaburi. Tel: 0-2590-3232, 0-2590-3234-5 or email: [email protected].

                  For more information, contact DDC hotline 1422.:

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • Thailand specifies requirements for reopening to foreign tourists on July 1

                    The Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) meeting today (Friday) chaired by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has resolved to specify requirements for fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the kingdom without a quarantine requirement from July 1st under the highly-anticipated “Phuket Sandbox” tourism scheme.

                    The proposed requirements – to be approved by the Cabinet – are as followed:

                    Foreign tourists wishing to travel to Phuket must be fully vaccinated for more than 14 days but no more than one year. They must be from low and medium risk countries, according to the Public Health Ministry’s listings.
                    Children aged under 6 can enter with their fully vaccinated parents. Those aged 6-18 are required to undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival.
                    The tourist must present a vaccination certificate from their departing countries. The vaccine must be approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna) or approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) (BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac)
                    Install an application for the local authorities to track health conditions
                    Stay in hotels certified by Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA+) for 14 nights, after which travel to other parts of Thailand will be allowed
                    Update their health on the app and undergo further COVID-19 tests as required by the Public Health Ministry. Tourist activities under DMHTTA (Distancing, Mask wearing, Hand washing, Temperature, Testing, Application) are recommended.
                    The plan aims to attract tourists from Europe and the United States first, with the target of welcoming 129,000 tourists. As for tourists from nearby countries, the reopening will depend on each country’s vaccination and travel policy and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will review the situation monthly.

                    Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Buriram, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, are scheduled to welcome tourists in October, all following the Phuket Sandbox model.

                    During the recent parliamentary debate on the budget Bill, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that he is confident that 70% of the people in the 10 provinces will be inoculated this month.

                    The ministry also plans to launch the “Tour Tiew Thai” project, to boost the domestic tourism sector and to encourage people to travel during weekdays. It is expected to generate revenues of up to 61 billion baht, along with existing schemes, such as “Rao Tiew Duay Kan” (We Travel Together) and the “Kam Lang Jai” scheme.

                    Meanwhile, seven airlines will resume direct flights to and from Phuket early next month, namely Thai Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, El Al, British Airways, and Air France.:

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Thai Airways to start European flights to Phuket in July

                      Thai Airways International will start direct flights from five European cities to Phuket in July in line with a plan to reopen the island for tourists.

                      The airline said on its Facebook page the carrier will introduce direct flights from Zurich, Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and London to Phuket from July 2.

                      The timing was in sync with the government's confirmed decision on Friday to reopen Phuket for international tourists on July 1 on condition that they are fully vaccinated and stay on the island for 14 days before travelling to other locations in the country.

                      THAI will also reportedly begin flights from Hong Kong to Phuket, also on July 2, to draw Hong Kong tourists to the island.

                      Qatar Airways has announced four weekly flights from Doha to Phuket beginning on July 1. The Gulf state airline already operates 12 flights a week between the Qatari and Thai capitals.:

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • Thailand - Grand reopening hopes fade

                        Businesses have responded cautiously to the plan to reopen Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists next month, as operators aren't confident they will be able to draw tourists back to the resort island due to the tough requirements it imposes on incoming tourists.

                        Starting from July 1, Phuket will waive quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 under the "Phuket Tourism Sandbox" model, which is being touted as a model for the reopening of Thailand's tourism industry.

                        However, as a precaution, tourists will have to remain on the island for 14 days before they are allowed to move on to other destinations in the country -- up from the previously announced seven days.

                        Wichai Ruangcharuwattana, manager of the Sunshine Tour Phuket Co, told the Bangkok Post that overall the reopening plan will help the resort island's economic recovery.

                        However, he wanted the 14-day stay requirement taken back to seven, as hotels and ferry operators who take tourists on day trips have pinned their hopes on the reopening.

                        As his company focuses on tourists from Asian countries, most of whom generally don't plan to stay for more than five days in Phuket, Mr Wichai said he hasn't seen any new bookings.

                        "Some golfers from Singapore had expressed interest in spending three days in Phuket, but that's it," he added.

                        "Though Phuket will reopen in July, we don't know how many foreign tourists will return. As for Thai tourists, they may be worried that prices of hotel rooms, food and tour packages in Phuket may increase, so not many will visit," Mr Wichai said.

                        Sirikorn Bunyasiri, vice-president of the Phuket Travel Agents Association, told the Bangkok Post she expected the Phuket Sandbox programme to get off to a good start.

                        "Flights to Phuket are expected to increase, though it is not known whether tourists will come in large numbers. Many airlines are trying to increase flights after almost two years, and everyone is looking at Phuket. If it is a success, others will follow suit," she said.

                        Chalermlak Kepsap, owner of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel on Patong beach, voiced disagreement with the 14-day stay requirement, saying the requirement may dissuade foreign tourists from visiting.

                        "It will be difficult for them to remain on the island for 14 days. This may be too long, considering the number of tourist spots and activities on the island. It will be more helpful if they adopt a seven-day rule because tourists will have a chance to visit other destinations," Ms Chalermlak said.

                        She said Patong beach, a popular tourist spot in Phuket, is still quiet with no tourists, as many visitors know the monsoon season will peak next month and last until October.

                        "As hotel operators are not confident the reopening plan will draw foreign tourists back, several have decided to remain closed," she said, adding many small hotels don't have the budget to restart their businesses, some of which have been shuttered for almost two years.

                        "If the situation in Patong continues, when tourists come back on July 1, where will they stay?" she said.

                        Ms Chalermlak also pointed out that many vendors in Patong are from other provinces, and after the Covid-19 hit the area, most decided to go home and many have yet to come back.

                        "We must also take into account other aspects, not only the vaccination of 70% of local residents. For example, we have to consider which countries the foreign tourists are from. Operators in Patong have not seen a clear government stance on the matter," she said.

                        Despite the reservations, Sonthaya Khongthip, president of a community enterprise, agro-tourism and conservation group in the Bangthao-Choeng Talay community, said the community is ready to support the reopening.

                        Locals were working to comply with Safety & Health Administration Plus guidelines, as recommended by the Tourism and Sports Ministry to attract tourists, Mr Sonthaya said.

                        "Without tourist arrivals, Phuket will become a ghost town. Without [the sandbox scheme], the country cannot move forward.

                        "The 14-day stay requirement will benefit local producers. We want tourists to spend money in communities selling local products," Mr Sonthaya said.

                        "We are like small fish in a big pond -- larger operators who do their marketing internationally should also think of local tourism enterprises," he added.

                        Don Limnanthapisit, president of a committee on Phuket old town community, said he agrees with the 14-day requirement, though he warned that the reopening may lead to a new surge of infections if tourists fail to follow health safety protocols.

                        "Though incoming foreign tourists will be required to show proof of vaccination, this does not mean they are totally free of the virus," he said. "Foreign tourists may not want to wear their masks in public. When they arrive in Phuket, they want to enjoy themselves drinking. If we cannot control them, this may lead to a new wave of infections.":

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Koh Samui gets ready to reopen on July 1

                          “Next month Koh Samui can reopen to tourists under the ‘Samui Sealed Route’ model, in which tourists who have tested negative for Covid-19 can stay in a hotel and enjoy the beaches for seven days.”

                          Tourists wanting to stay beyond the initial seven days will be tested again either via the swab or PCR method. If they test negative again, they will be allowed to travel within Koh Samui as well as hop over to Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao.

                          “On Tuesday [June 8] the association will call on the Tourism and Sports Ministry and Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration [CCSA] to come up with suitable measures to reopen Koh Samui,” he said. “We believe CCSA will allow flights to Samui, which will significantly boost tourism in the area.”:

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Third wave stymies plan to lure Chinese

                            There is little hope of attracting Chinese travellers to Thailand under the sandbox scheme during Golden Week in October as long as the country continues to report more than 2,000 new infections per day, says the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta).

                            The group said vaccine diplomacy by China and the US may also affect the tourism situation.

                            In addition to the ongoing third wave in Thailand, southern Chinese metropolis Guangzhou imposed strict travel restrictions to curb the Delta Covid virus first detected on the mainland, said Atta president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn.

                            "We can assume the Chinese government will prioritise safety, extending a 21-day quarantine for those returning to China from overseas," he said.

                            After detecting the first case on May 21, Guangzhou imposed a rigid lockdown against the spread of the Delta variant, which is known as a highly transmissible strain.

                            Even Phuket's quarantine-free tourism scheme for inoculated travellers is unlikely to lure Chinese to book vacations on the island if they have to spend a half-month in isolation at home, said Mr Sisdivachr.

                            Most Asian nations are struggling with the epidemic and have little confidence in tourism, preferring to wait until the fourth quarter to consider overseas trips.

                            "However, it is necessary to test the reopening scheme in Phuket because tourism operators are in dire need of such a mechanism. It might not produce a fruitful outcome in the early stages, but at least we can try to survive," he said.

                            Mr Sisdivachr said another factor to watch is the vaccine diplomacy competition between the US and China, as both try to gain influence over Southeast Asian countries.

                            The political stance of Thailand towards such diplomatic policies is important to monitor as it might affect international relationships and travel exchange policies in the future, he said.

                            "Everything is about politics, including vaccines and tourism," said Mr Sisdivachr.

                            Meanwhile, Atta is preparing to propose two preventive measures for future crises in the tourism sector to Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, at a meeting today.

                            Mr Sisdivachr said a sustainable method to prevent tourism operators from shutting down involves having a specific fund for the industry, as the pandemic has shown a spotlight on the critical problem of financial access, particularly for small businesses.

                            The government should help establish a fund worth 10 billion baht minimum to provide necessary loans to tour operators, a model similar to Village Funds that are allocated to rural areas, he said.

                            When the tourism industry resumes, operators repay the loan with interest, helping the fund grow long-term without government support.:

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • The government should help establish a fund worth 10 billion baht minimum to provide necessary loans to tour operators, a model similar to Village Funds that are allocated to rural areas, he said.

                              When the tourism industry resumes, operators repay the loan with interest, helping the fund grow long-term without government support.
                              Dream on...
                              Originally posted by Ergenburgensmurgen;n186588
                              What are you talking about, I don't post on Teakdoor.



                              • They should get some help
                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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