Thailand is opening its doors this week after a 6 month ban on international tourists, catering to those on the new Special Tourist Visa who have time on their hands and money to spend. The first group will arrive to Phuket from China on Thursday, but they all have to go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine and it isn’t cheap in Phuket.
Most of the government approved quarantine facilities in Phuket are luxury hotels. The Senses Resort in Phuket offers quarantine packages for their private pool villas starting at 260,000 baht and go up to 590,000 baht for a family of four. While it’s pricey, the resort owner Suppachoke Laongphet says it doesn’t generate much income.
“We won’t make much profit from these special clients because of the expenses involved … We had to find other sources of income to support our staff and the local economy.”
A lot of preparation has gone into preparing the resort for quarantine guests. The resort’s staff were trained on Covid-19 prevention measures such as how to spot infections and what protective equipment to wear when interacting with the guests. The resort also got rid of some cushions to make the disinfecting easier.
Once the tourists are released from quarantine, officials hope they will help boost Phuket’s economy that heavily relies on foreign tourists. Before the pandemic, tourism made up 93% of Phuket’s income. The island province has been in a crisis since the halt on international travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now more than 70% of the island’s businesses are closed.
But some say the Special Tourist Visa scheme won’t be even slightly close to enough to save the country’s battered tourist economy. President of Thai Travel Agents Vichit Prakobkoson is pushing to end the 14 day quarantine for foreign tourists travelling from countries classified as a very low risk for spreading Covid-19. He says the thought of quarantine “repulses” many potential tourists.
Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on October 5, 2020 by Bangkok Post