Phuket Sandbox: Do Not Mix us With the Remainder of Thailand
- Tourism guides at a Phuket Sandbox Summit urge European governments to recognize Phuket’s status as a safe haven for international travelers.
- Sandbox destinations on the “green list” will drive the global recovery in tourism, says KP Ho, founder of the Banyan Tree Group.
- As long as this sandbox is well organized, like in Phuket, it should be kept separate from the rest of the country.
As Bangkok grapples with the rising number of COVID-19 infections, KP Ho has advised European envoys, airlines, senior officials and business leaders that it is imperative for Phuket Sandbox to be a success that Phuket has “green” destination status receives.
Phuket has the potential to lead the global tourism recovery as the historic Phuket Sandbox Initiative sets the standard for other travel destinations, he said. However, to be successful, governments must recognize it as a safe, self-contained travel destination rather than combining its travel status with the rest of Thailand.
The tourism authority of Thailand weighs heavily
KP Ho’s position was endorsed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) at the Phuket Sandbox Summit. Deputy Governor for International Marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americans, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, said: “We are trying to propose to the UK government that Phuket be put on the green list of travel destinations, even though Thailand is on the yellow list. We are optimistic about Phuket Sandbox. Phuket is safe and we will not endanger anyone’s safety. “
He confirmed that nearly 300,000 rooms had been booked in SHA Plus hotels by the end of August, with nearly 13,000 arrivals and 124 flights after 28 days, with many more planned. The top markets are the USA, Great Britain, Israel, Germany, France, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland with an average stay of 11 days.
As fear grows in major Southeast Asian destinations grappling with infection numbers, the Phuket sandbox model is quickly becoming a beacon of hope for the tourism industry.