Thailand’s hospitality industry is struggling with waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, various government measures recently launched are expected to turn around the situation, as flights resume and a more effective vaccination rollout is being implemented.
The tourism sector and related businesses such as air travel and restaurants are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Government agencies have since issued strong measures to help revive and transform such activities in order to respond to post Covid-19 demand.
Phuket Sandbox, and Samui Plus were launched respectively, in the hope of bringing foreign tourists back to the world-renowned resort islands and later other tourist destinations in Thailand.
Under the scheme, vaccinated tourists are allowed to visit the popular island destinations without having to undergo quarantine.
Unfortunately, rising numbers of Covid-19 infection in Thailand and the rest of the world have put the scheme through a difficult phase, especially Phuket Sandbox. While the program targeted 100,000 tourists by the third quarter of this year, more than 26,000 foreigners have visited so far. Mr Yuthasak Supasorn, Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor admitted the target may be impossible to achieve due to fewer than expected arrivals in July and August.
However, he noted that the Sandbox scheme has helped in boosting local confidence to extend the scheme to other tourist destinations because only 0.3 per cent, or 83 people, have tested positive and most were identified at the airport.
Later on, TAT announced updates to its Phuket Sandbox program – “Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension” – that provides fully vaccinated travelers from the Middle East with opportunities to visit multiple Thai destinations without the need to quarantine.
From 16 August, 2021 onward, the mandatory stay in Phuket was reduced from 14 to 7 days for travelers from the Middle East who had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Following the initial 7 days, another 7 days can be spent in select destinations, including Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, or Railay), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak or Ko Yao), or Surat Thani (Samui Plus – Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao).