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Progress on Safe and Sealed Plan to bring tourism to the islands

14 Aug 2020

Tour operators plan to discuss lifting restrictions on international commercial flights in the fourth quarter with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) to allow for the Safe and Sealed plan to take shape. 

 

Vichit Prakobgosol, president of the Thai Travel Agents' Association, said state agencies and operators need to work together to drive the economy forward during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

The Safe and Sealed Plan is the result of cooperation between the Thailand Tourism Council (TCT) and 13 tourism sectors, including hotels, tour operators and tour bus services.
While the private sector awaits a government response after the scheme was proposed last week, council representatives in each province are working with locals to gain a better understanding of the idea. 

Mr Vichit said Phuket is showing the strongest potential to host the first group of international tourists, followed by islands in the provinces of Krabi and Surat Thani. 

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said Phuket operators suggested a similar idea by using alternative state quarantine (ASQ) hotels to welcome tourists only for long-stay stays. 

After completing a 14-day quarantine, those long-term guests would not be kept in a specific area and would be allowed to travel freely in the country, which should contribute revenue from tourism to other provinces, he said. 

"Although Phuket has seen increasing numbers of local tourists recently, there is still doubt about the overall situation in the province because the long distance is an obstacle," Mr Bhummikitti said. 

Approximately 40 per cent of Phuket's 2,000 hotels reopened, with most hoteliers planning to restart in October. 

Mr Bhummikitti said state agencies have to provide less complicated stimulus or add more privileges to boost domestic travel. 

One of the possible ideas that could be used in the next phase of the We Travel Together stimulus campaign, is a tourism cash coupon. 

With regard to the cabinet approval of additional holidays in September, Mr Bhummikitti said that Sept 4-7 's four-day weekend should drive tourism activities after most local people traveled to their hometown in July rather than heading for excursions. 

"New holidays will bring another opportunity for leisure trips," TCT president Chairat Trirattanajarasporn said. "People can plan their trips beforehand, because it was announced early by the cabinet." 

Although it is still taking place in the low season, Mr Chairat hopes that the new tourism stimulus phase will stimulate local demand more than it did in July and August. 

He said operators are waiting to see if new Minister of Finance Predee Daochai will provide effective measures for tourism.

Source Bangkok Post