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Koh Samui preparing for Tourists in September

2 Jul 2020

Koh Samui aims to welcome new visitors from low-risk countries with a limit of 200 tourists a day traveling directly to the island in September. 


Tourists can either go to a hotel on the island in a 14-day quarantine, or test negative on a 4,000-baht coronavirus test upon arrival. 


Vorasit Pongkumpunt, president of the Koh Samui Tourism Association, said it is too early to resume high rates of foreign tourism on the island, except with limited international flights permitted from this month as the likelihood of an epidemic remains unknown. 


Samui airport had four international flights before the pandemic — from Chengdu in China, Hong Kong , Singapore and Malaysia. 


Chinese tourists normally arrived from Chengdu on chartered planes, and are supposed to be the first returning guests to the island under the travel bubble scheme. 


Mr Vorasit said Samui is eager to open up to foreign travelers, who usually make up 90 per cent of the overall tourists. 


Regional business and relevant partners are in the process of planning rigorous protection and sanitation protocols, as well as accelerated delivery checks and appropriate health care services such as 250 hospital beds for new pathogens. 


The island now has a modern laboratory run by Koh Samui Hospital which is capable of conducting 90 swab tests a day for the infection, with findings in six hours. 

He said the 4,000-baht swab check for international entrants helps them to escape quarantine that lasts 14 days. 


The group is seeking to establish databases of the island's hotels that would like to become alternate state quarantine facilities. 


The screening procedure is ambiguous for the visitors passing via Suvarnabhumi airport. Tourists landing in Bangkok might need to go through a screening phase to get into the nation before they reach the island. 


When preparations are approved by the Ministries of Tourism and Sports and Public Health to accept international visitors, the organization must give the information to the locals and hold a public hearing. 


Mr Vorasit claims that if they are assured of the protection measures implemented on the island, the local population would have a good attitude of the current influx of overseas visitors. 


Another aspect which should alleviate local fears is the increase in managing the outbreak in the countries of origin. 


Mr Vorasit said the island saw the return of 3,500-4,000 local visitors, or 50 per cent of the regular total before the epidemic, while inter-provincial travel was not limited. 


For local travelers the average length of stay was just two nights, much less compared to the one week for international tourists. 


"There are still not enough visitors here to fill the hotel supply," he said.