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The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, says his ministry is hoping to kick-start a careful and limited reopening to international tourism from October 1st, starting with Phuket's southern province.
Phiphat 's ministry will meet with the Ministries of Public Health, Interior, Foreign and Transport on August 27 to discuss the introduction of the "Safe and Sealed" campaign, according to a report in the Bangkok Post. The campaign aims at reviving tourism from international provinces or cities that Covid-19 considers to be "low-risk"
One suggestion being considered is to reserve 1 or 2 kilometres of beach close to state quarantine locations, in places such as Patong, where tourists could leave their accommodation to spend time on the beach while still observing the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement. If the plan is agreed, it will be submitted for final approval to the Covid-19 Situation Administration Centre. Members of the CCSA visited Phuket last week to discuss the readiness of the province to reopen, and it was understood that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports plans to work with Thailand's Tourism Authority to conduct a follow-up survey seeking local views.
Phiphat says energy minister, Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who heads the economic policy team, has welcomed the plan for Phuket positively. He adds that he has also discussed a proposed 100-billion-baht cash injection for the tourism sector with Finance Minister Predee Daochai, but that requires further discussion with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and economic advisers. Phiphat says his ministry plans to review the success of the campaign to stimulate domestic travel before it decides on the next steps. More than 1 million hotel rooms, of more than 5 million eligible rooms, are expected to have been redeemed under the scheme. TAT is also working on a campaign to increase the number of trips taken over the long weekend of September 4-7, replacing the April Songkran vacation.
Meanwhile, tourism operators in the Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai northern provinces are working together to promote long-stay visitors to their regions. Kitti Tissakul, from the Northern Tourism Federation Association in Chiang Rai Province, is calling on the government to help foster stronger links with sister cities like Gunma in Japan by introducing direct flights or travel bubbles to boost tourism between the two.