After 14 days of allowing visitors to enter without quarantining, the Deputy Governor of Phuket province has confirmed the Phuket Sandbox project has proceeded as planned despite turnout not being as many as expected with just over 4,500 people arriving so far, generating cashflow of an estimated 450 million baht. Local residents have voiced faith in the plan, and acknowledged it as the key to economic progress.
Mr.Graham George Williams and Mrs.Jacqueline Williams, the British couple remarked that while the Phuket Sandbox entry process was slightly complicated, they understand the situation.
Central to the success of the Phuket Sandbox project is the training of hotel staff on how to accommodate travelers according to SHA Plus standards, which require they follow up on guests well-being daily.
SHA Plus Manager of Angsana Laguna Phuket Hotel, Nittiya Mipruek, said
“We have to track our in-house guests and enter that information using a QR code into the Mor Chana application on a daily basis, as well as remind our guests of their second and third swab tests”
The Deputy Governor of Phuket, Pichet Panapong, acknowledged that infection numbers around Thailand have dampened tourist confidence but underlined that the situation in Phuket is not a cause for concern, with infections as anticipated and planned measures holding fast.
“Of the total 4,568 travelers who have arrived so far we found only two infections in initial testing and another three from second swabs, putting the total number of infections at just five. While some may see this is as a sign the disease is taking hold, we note that it is normal and has not triggered a rethink or a suspension of the project. We are exercising medical, administrative and legal measures to ensure control”
The deputy governor indicated that the Tourism Authority of Thailand expected about 23,000 people to arrive and generate 2.4 billion baht in spending in July. but so far there have been only 4,568 arrivals, or one fifth of the estimate, putting spending at about 450 million baht.
Nonetheless, business operators in the province say they are glad to see tourists returning even if their numbers are limited. They voiced a belief that with good management and with the spread of vaccinations, visitors will grow more confident.
Despite the Phuket Sandbox not yet returning the province to its prior glory, the positive consensus of its residents has shown it to be a useful starting point in rehabilitating Phuket’s economy.
“We have herd immunity and standardized practices, which should build good faith. We just need to enhance our screening to ensure the virus does not find its way in. I assure you that the Phuket Sandbox will move forward”