Thai FDA says vaccines don’t need WHO approval

The Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts that 129,000 tourists will arrive on the southern island of Phuket within the first 3 months of its reopening. Officials still insist the island will reopen for non-quarantine travel for foreign tourists vaccinated from July 1. And according to the Bangkok Post, the TAT also plans to team up with airlines to offer 100,000 subsidized domestic air tickets.

The association is in talks with Thai Airways and Thai Smile Airways to offer a 1,000 to 2,000 baht domestic air fare subsidy for tourists participating in the Phuket sandbox program. The program will also be expanded to include all local carriers.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn expects around 30,000 to 40,000 tourists per month, via the Phuket sandbox model, the main target being long-haul markets. 7-day Phuket packages will be offered for 150,000 to 200,000 baht per visitor, according to Yuthasak, a significant increase from the average spending of 50,000 baht per trip before the pandemic.

The Bangkok Post reports that most tourists will need to arrive via a direct flight to Phuket. However, in the event that there are no slots available at the airport, tourists will be allowed to transfer through Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport using a dedicated sealed terminal.

Once the remaining 9 sandbox areas join the reopening, Yuthasak expects between 3 and 4 million tourists in the last quarter of the year. He said standard operating procedures to govern the entry of foreign tourists, including Covid-19 testing and guidelines for sealed routes, will be submitted to the Center for the Administration of the Economic Situation this month. Once approved and published in the Royal Gazette, tourism operators can launch their sales and marketing plans.

Yuthasak adds that work is needed on vaccine supply and administration, pointing out that new clusters in places like Bangkok could affect vaccine delivery in Phuket.

“The new epidemic in Thailand did not affect the sentiment of tourism in foreign markets, as the media in each country focused on the situation in India and domestic cases in their own country. However, travel agents have expressed concern that the viral situation could affect the reopening schedule, prompting TAT to confirm that everything is working as expected. “

He said travel agents are waiting for clear entry rules, so they can offer packages to their customers.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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