Thailand’s Tourism Ministry is considering offering free inter-provincial flights to vaccinated foreign tourists to promote tourism. Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said his Ministry is considering the proposal once airline workers are approved for Covid-19 vaccinations this week.
According to Minister Phiphat from July 1st, vaccinated tourists exempt from quarantine might be tempted to extend their stay in Thailand after spending 10 days in Phuket if they were provided with free or discounted inter-provincial flights.
He said the ministry already discussed the plan with Bangkok Airways, the owner and operator of Samui airport, as that island has the potential to accommodate tourists.
Koh Samui has plans to reopen to the first batch of 1,000 foreign visitors who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 on July 1.
Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said efforts are being made to draw tourists back to the island, with a plan to vaccinate at least 70% of the population on Koh Samui to prepare for a safe reopening.
Peopening of Koh Samui
Foreign tourists must receive two doses of Covid-19 vaccine before they are allowed to visit Koh Samui, he said. Once there, they would be required to stay in alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) facilities, although they would not be confined to their rooms.
Mr Ratchaporn said local tourism operators and state agencies came up with a campaign to promote the reopening of Koh Samui, which they called “Wonder Island“, which has been approved in principle by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
Under the plan, Bangkok Airways would provide flights to take vaccinated foreign tourists from Singapore as well as the United States, Europe and Australia to Koh Samui from July 1, he said.
The inter-provincial flight offer is meant to attract 100,000 foreign tourists during the first three months of Phuket’s sandbox initiative, said Mr Phiphat.