Thailand cautiously reopens to foreign tourists as the “Samui Plus” project starts Thursday
The “Samui Plus” model kicks off today (July 15th), welcoming fully vaccinated foreign tourists, just two weeks after the initial Phuket “sandbox” tourism project was launched. The first 20 tourists are expected to arrive on Samui Island today.
The once bustling atmosphere on Samui’s Chaweng Beach remains quiet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many locals believe, however, that the “Samui Plus” reopening model will begin the revival of the tourism based local economy.
President of the Samui Tourism Promotion Association, Ratchaporn Poonsawat, expects more tourists to visit the island later in the year, if the COVID-19 situation eases.
“The COVID-19 situation is still a problem, so it might be a challenge to promote tourism. Many businesses on the island believe that tourism might pick up in the fourth quarter.”
Many hotel owners and staff are closely monitoring the situation, as it is remains unpredictable.
The “Samui Plus” model welcomes fully vaccinated foreign tourists onto the island. They will get swab test at the airport on arrival and will have to enter quarantine at pre-booked “SHA+” certified hotels.
For the first seven days, tourists must remain in their hotel’s compound, before their second swab test. For the second week of their stay, they can travel around Samui, Phang Ngan and Tao islands, while continuing to stay at “SHA+” certified venues.
So far, 17 hotels in the “Samui Plus” project are “SHA+” certified, with almost 500 rooms available. The initiative is helping 10% of the hospitality sector’s workforce to return to work.