Phuket insisted on Friday that the COVID-19 situation on the resort island remains under control and that the tough measures adopted on Thursday were to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus coming from other provinces.
These COVID-19 prevention efforts are crucial to ensuring continuity in the Phuket Sandbox tourism reopening scheme, which is contributing greatly to the recovery of Phuket’s economy, governor Narong Wunsiew said on Friday.
He issued three specific orders on Thursday, which deal with COVID-19 screening measures on visitors entering Phuket, temporary closures of places and activities with a high risk of triggering a new outbreak, and measures to better control the movement of migrants workers within Phuket.
These measures are part of a new campaign called “Save Phuket Sandbox, Save Thailand”, said Mr Wunsiew, adding that effective curbs will play a key role in Phuket’s efforts to speed up salvaging its tourism-dependent economy.
As of Thursday, 12,599 tourists have arrived in the province under the tourism promotion programme since the launch of Phuket Sandbox on 1st July, while only 30 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving, he said.
These infections were found by the Disease Control Department to have been transmitted by tourists who came and stayed in groups, not interactions between these guests and locals, he said.
On average, between 300 and 400 new tourists arrive in Phuket each day on 10 flights under the Phuket Sandbox programme, while a total of 298,858 hotel rooms have been booked between this month and September, he said.
More requests for flights into Phuket under the programme have also been received, he said.
Witchawut Chinto, governor of neighbouring Surat Thani province, meanwhile, said his province will welcome tourists from the Phuket Sandbox programme if they are interested in travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani’s popular tourist destinations such as Koh Samui.
Surat Thani is implementing a similar tourism reopening programme called the Samui Plus Model.