“Phuket Sandbox” projected to draw more than 600,000 visitors and 15b bath in three months


BANGKOK – The reopening of popular resort island of Phuket starting July 1 is expected to draw more than 600,000 foreign and local tourists and generate a cash flow of about 15 billion baht in the next three months.

Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) projected about 129,000 foreign tourist and 500,000 Thais will visit Phuket between July and September.

He said all parties have been speeding up preparation to ensure a smooth reopening.

“Our main goal is to be able to revive the local economy and prevent the spread of the pandemic at the same time. We hope we can show people in Phuket and in other parts of the country what benefit they will gain from the reopening,” he was quoted saying by Bangkok Post.

Starting July 1, Phuket is set to reopen to fully vaccinated visitors under “Phuket Sandbox” concept where visitors entering Phuket will skip the 14-day quarantine. However, they must stay in the island for 14 days before travelling to other provinces in the kingdom.

It is a pilot project for wider reopening in the kingdom in bid to revive its tourism industry hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha announced Thailand will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors by mid-October.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General to the PM’s Office and spokesman for the Centre for Economic Situation Administration Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the “Phuket Sandbox” is projected to generate a cash flow of about 15 billion baht between July and September.

Director of TAT Phuket office Nanthasiri Ronsiri said five airlines – Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Israel Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Emirates Airlines – will fly foreign tourists to Phuket starting July 1.

Meanwhile, Thailand recorded 3,682 new COVID-19 cases and 20 fatalities, over the last 24 hours, bringing the total infection in the kingdom to 218,131 and 1,629 deaths to date.

Of the new cases, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said 3,642 were local transmission of which 1,198 were active case detection and 578 were prisoners.

It said 40 imported cases have been reported.

CCSA said the new fatalities involved 13 men and seven women aged between 26 and 90 years old including 11 in Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom (three), Samut Prakan (two) and one each at Chantaburi, Rayong, Saraburi and Ubon Ratchathani.