Government urged to approve 7 plus 7 tourism model

By TIN Media | Asean News Published 3 months ago on 17 August 2021
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THAILAND:

Tourism authorities in Thailand have asked the government to approve the so-called 7+7 model allowing tourists to stay in Phuket for just seven days before being allowed to visit other locations.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has made the request to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) that decides on matters related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a Prime Minister's Office secretary, said TAT has come up with the so-called 7+7 formula, which allows tourists who complete their seven-day stay on the island to visit and spend another seven days in other tourist destinations taking part in the tourism programme.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the 7+7 model is expected to be implemented later this month, for seven tourist attractions.

They comprise Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in Surat Thani province; Khao Lak, Kho Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi in Phangnga province; and Koh Phi Phi, Railay Beach, and Koh Ngai in Krabi province.

Under the Phuket sandbox programme, quarantine requirements are exempted for foreign tourists fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and it has been touted as a model for the reopening of the tourism industry in Thailand.

However, as a precaution, tourists have to remain on the island for 14 days before they are allowed to travel to other destinations in the country.

Thanakorn said the Phuket sandbox had been a success, attracting almost 20,000 arrivals since its opening with 371,826 room nights booked at hotels until the end of September.

Visitors from the United States made up the largest number of foreign arrivals, followed by those from the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and France.

He said a total of 2,622 foreign tourists who completed the 14-day stay have left the island by land, with Bangkok, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chon Buri as their top five next destinations.

Another 7,827 tourists have opted to travel to other destinations by sea.

Meanwhile, concerns of the Phuket sandbox programme viability continues as Thailand registered high number of cases and deaths from Covid-19.

Though the arrivals have not been affected for now, authorities are concerned future arrivals may be impacted.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha is also expected hold a CCSA meeting to evaluate the pandemic situation in the country and decide whether the government can ease restrictions on some businesses.

The Thai Retailer Association had called for some essential businesses such as general stores, IT shops and bank branches in shopping malls to be allowed to operate in 29 provinces placed under lockdown.

However, The Post said the meeting is unlikely to lift most restrictions as the lockdown period is set to last until the end of the month.

Phuket has also decided to extend its Covid-19 restrictions, which includes sealing off the island to outsiders, until the end of August as locally transmitted cases there were rising.

The island recorded over 100 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, all locally transmitted, and none are from the sandbox scheme. Total infections there stands at 1,940.

Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said that under the restrictions which began earlier this month, no one is allowed to enter Phuket by land, sea or air, except for 16 categories.

Exemptions include those from the essential services, Phuket residents, visitors related to the sandbox scheme, and people who have been vaccinated with two shots of Sinovac or at least one shot of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson at least 14 days prior to arrival, or those who have recovered from Covid-19 for at least 90 days.

Narong said visitors also have to produce a negative RT-PCR or antigen test result obtained in the past 72 hours.

Phuket has also announced a list of places which will close and prohibited activities.

These include pubs, bars, karaoke joints, entertainment venues, boxing arenas, gambling areas, pool rooms, internet cafes and swimming pools.


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