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Thailand's Tourism Authority says it expects 129,000 tourists to arrive on the southern island of Phuket in the first three months first it reopens. Officials still insist that the island will reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists for quarantine-free travel from July 1. The TAT also plans to team up with airlines to offer 100,000 subsidized one-way domestic air tickets, according to the Bangkok Post.
The association is in talks with Thai Airways and Thai Smile Airways about offering a 1,000–2,000 baht subsidy on domestic airfares for tourists that participate in Phuket's sandbox scheme. All local carriers will be included in the scheme as well.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn expects that Phuket's sandbox model around 30,000–40,000 tourists a month, with long-haul markets being the primary target. According to Yuthasak, 7-day packages in Phuket will be offered for 150,000 – 200,000 baht per visitor, a significant increase on the 50,000 baht average per trip before the pandemic.
Yuthasak expects between 3 and 4 million tourists in the last quarter of the year once the other 9 sandbox areas reopen. He says the Centre for Economic Situation Administration will receive standard operating procedures to govern the entry of foreign tourists this month, including Covid-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes. Tourism operators can launch and marketing their services and products after their sales and marketing plans are approved and published in the Royal Gazette.
“The new outbreak in Thailand didn’t affect tourism sentiment as its media in each country focused on the situation in India and domestic cases in their own countries. Travel agents, on the other side, expressed concern that the virus situation may affect the reopening timeline, prompting TAT to confirm that everything is running as scheduled.” Yuthasak says.