11 July 2024

Following in the footsteps of the Phuket “sandbox” scheme, Thailand’s resort town of Hua Hin is seeking to reopen to foreign arrivals on October 1st, with the expectation that as many as 100,000 foreign tourists will visit and inject 1.2 billion baht into the local economy this year.

“Hua Hin Recharge”, as the program is called, is a collaboration between the tourism and services-related private and public sectors in the town, in the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, as an effort to revive the tourism business, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic since last year.

Over 73% of the people in two sub-districts of Hua Hin, namely Hua Hin and Nong Kae, which are home to most of the hotels and tourism-related businesses, have been inoculated. If all the districts in the province are to reopen to foreign and domestic tourists, however, an additional 110,000 doses of vaccines will be needed to achieve 70% vaccination of the population of the province.

In Hua Hin, 64,434 people have received their first dose of vaccines, 21,794 have received two doses and 2,037 have received three.

As for foreign arrivals, Mr. ‎Krod Rojanastien‎, president of the private sector element of the “Hua Hin Recharge” scheme, said that tourists wanting to enter the resort town must show a certificate confirming that they are fully inoculated and must also observe the following regulations.

  • They must undergo three RT-PCR tests during their stay in the town – the first upon arrival, the second seven days later and the third on the 13th day in town.
  • While awaiting for results of the first test, they can check in to their hotels, which must meet the SHA Plus standard, without stopovers en route to the hotels.
  • If testing negative for COVID-19, they can travel freely in the town or within 86.36 square kilometres of the district’s territory without being quarantined.
  • If testing negative in the second test, they can move to a new hotel of their choice.
  • If testing negative in the third test, they can travel anywhere across Thailand, after completion of their 14-day stay in Hua Hin.

The “Hua Hin Recharge” scheme will be proposed to the CCSA in the middle of this month by Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

Hua Hin received about 2.8 million Thai tourists and about one million foreign tourists in 2019. Thai tourists were estimated to spend an average of 2,975 baht per head per day, while foreign tourists’ daily spending averaged 3,979 baht per head.

Besides Prachuap Khiri Khan, which includes Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi and Chon Buri are expected to reopen to foreign arrivals on October 1st.

According to Mr. Phiphat, reopening of Bangkok may be postponed until November, or until 70% of the population of the capital and its suburbs are inoculated with at least two doses of vaccine.

Preparations are underway in 25 provinces to receive tourists from Phuket and Koh Samui, who have completed their seven-day stay there, starting on October 15th, said Mr. Phiphat.