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According to Thailand Longstay Company, more than 10,000 Scandinavians have inquired about the new extended visit program, which the resort province of Phuket is preparing to offer.
Many Scandinavian holidaymakers often seek to leave their home countries behind in the cold winter at this time of year and spend long holidays in Thailand, Italy, or Spain, said Piyapat Suban Na Ayudhaya, the company's CEO.
Italy and Spain are still healing from the outbreak of Covid-19, it is an ideal opportunity for Thailand to instead attract Scandinavian visitors here for extended vacations.
More than 10,000 people have looked for information about the program through embassies and tourism offices in Scandina, according to Ms Piyapat.
She insisted that Thailand would still have to put in place strict and effective legal measures to ensure that visitors entering Thailand comply with the rules, especially those on public health security, under the long-stay program and other promotional schemes.
She spoke about the preparation of the program for the province at a meeting in Phuket on Friday.
The Special Tourist Visa (STV) will be issued to tourists who intend to stay for a minimum of one month in Thailand, she said.
Holders of this particular tourist visa are required to consent to a 14-day Covid-19 quarantine in certified hotels, they will be tested for Covid-19 infection at least twice before they can travel freely within the country, Ms Piyapat said.
They will have to purchase a special quarantine package when agreeing to come to Thailand under the program, furnish accommodation details where they plan to stay after the mandatory Covid-19 quarantine imposed upon arrival, and explain how they plan to pay for the accommodation in advance, she said.
They are also required to purchase a Covid-19 health insurance policy that covers up to US$ 100,000 per person (about 3 million baht), she said.
Initially, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will allow only three chartered flights carrying a maximum of 120 passengers per month, or about 360 passengers per month, to fly to Phuket, although it is hoped that if the scheme is a success then the number will be quickly revised upwards.
Deputy Phuket Governor Phichet Panaphong said the province is now ready to welcome foreign tourists and only waiting for government approval.
Mr Phichet insisted on health security that the general public must come before tourism benefits, adding that all quarantine facilities must meet the guidelines of the government, he said.
"They will be arrested if any tourists sneak out of a quarantine facility," he said.
A total of 78 hotels have applied to operate as alternative local quarantine centers, said Wikrom Chakthi, assistant governor of Phuket.
Of these, five hotels are already certified and ready to accommodate foreign tourists.
"There are 569 rooms already on offer," he said.
Phuket is expected to have about 2,500 hotel rooms certified for the task by next month, while the ultimate objective is to have the capacity for more than 5,000 arrivals overseas.
The hotels that have been certified include Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, Trisala Phuket Villas & Residences, Metadee Resort and Villas, Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa, and Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas.
Source Bangkok Post