Easier procedures and a bridge to the Island in Samui brainstorm about tourism

16 Aug 2020

Koh Samui 's president of the Tourism Association will meet with a Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) sub-committee to brainstorm guidelines to permit visiting Koh Samui by foreign tourists.

Mr. Worasit will represent tourism entrepreneurs at a meeting with the CCSA on Wednesday at Koh Samui in Surat Thani. 

Worasit Phong-amphan said last year that Koh Samui saw 2.3 million tourists, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are almost no visitors in the previous few months.  Tourism entrepreneurs are willing to welcome foreign tourists back, though none have arrived yet. 

He spoke about new standard operating procedures during the Covid-19 era at a recent forum between the business operators on the resort island and the Immigration Bureau.

However, travelers coming from abroad will be required to be quarantined at a hotel for two weeks before being allowed to go outside for safety reasons.

Eligible foreign tourists must travel with Thai Airways International to Thailand and have the Covid-19 test once they arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport.  Mr. Worasit has also called on the government to work with Thai Airways International to provide foreign tourists with discounted air tickets. 

They will then travel to Samui without needing to endure an immigration procedure.

Unless the visitors take a seven-day negative check, they will exit their space but not the hotel. They'll be allowed to travel outside after 14 days with a unique wrist band, Mr. Worasit said.

Pimporn Thongsuk, an executive of The Equal Hour Beach Resort and Hotel on the island of Samui, said the Covid-19 pandemic is an extraordinary circumstance indeed.

Currently, Samui does not have visitors — Thai or international — and both forms of businessmen are still severely impacted by the virus despite government initiatives to help visitors compensate for their hotel rooms, Ms. Pimporn said.

At the same time, the only airline providing direct flights to Samui still requires local entrepreneurs to rely upon.
The flight monopoly of the Samui airport makes fares costly, even during this period when the government is promoting domestic tourism, Ms. Pimporn said.
She called on the government to assist with this issue, claiming that expensive airfares discourage visitors from visiting the island even though there are hotels available.

"One of our hopes is to build a 17-km bridge connecting the mainland in Khanom district, Nakhon Si Thammarat, to the island of Samui.

"Hotels with 40,000 rooms combined are pinning their hopes on the bridge. Now we [local businesses and people] are raising a petition to build a bridge for the province, "she said.
Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, Immigration Bureau director, said that immigration officers, hotels, entertainment centers, and restaurants would enforce the normal operating procedures to deter Covid-19 from spreading to the nation again.

Immigration officers are required to wear a face mask or face shield, and to wear gloves while in service.

We do have to wear a PPE mask and monitor their body temperature before, and after work, he added.

Source: Bangkok Post