More than 100 hotels in Phuket in Thailand have passed the SHA+ healthy safety standard and are ready for the launch of the tourism sandbox campaign in the province on July 1, Kongsak Khupongsakorn, president of Thai Hotel Association’s Southern Chapter.
The SHA+, or Safety & Health Administration Plus standard, was launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Ministry of Public Health as guidelines for hotel entrepreneurs to append safety and health measures to the service quality standards to ensure safety of customers and staff during the pandemic.
“Over 100 hotels in Phuket with combined rooms of over 10,000 are SHA+ certified, while 430 hotels with over 40,000 rooms are certified at SHA level,” he said.
“To get an SHA+ approval, 100 per cent of hotel staff must be vaccinated.
“The association believes that the vaccination of hotel staff should not be a problem, as so far over 200,000 Phuket locals have been vaccinated, and some of them are hotel staff,” added Kongsak.
“The province expects to vaccinate another 200,000 locals before the end of June, so before the campaign starts we should have plenty of hotel staff who are vaccinated.
“Furthermore, some 10,000 rooms at SHA+ certified hotels should be adequate for foreign tourists in the early phase of Phuket sandbox,” he added.
“The TAT has estimated that in the first three months of the campaign, around 100,000 foreign tourists will enter Phuket, averaging around 30,000 people per month. This number of tourists will usually occupy 2,000 to 3,000 rooms per day.”
Kongsak added that the current hotel occupancy rate in Phuket is only 5 per cent, forcing hotels to provide discounts to attract customers.
“Five-star hotels are offering rooms at as low as THB2,000 per night, while the rate for villas has dropped to THB4,000 per night from the original price of over THB10,000 per night,” he said.
“The association expects that once the sandbox program passes its three-month pilot phase, foreign tourists will start pouring in and the occupancy rate in Phuket will climb up.”
Under the sandbox scheme, foreign tourists who can verify they have been inoculated against Covid-19 and test negative can fly into Phuket and move around freely in the province without having to quarantine.
After staying in Phuket for 14 days and testing negative, the tourists can then travel to other provinces in Thailand.
Tourists start returning to Pattaya’s vaccinated island
Tourists returned to Koh Larn Monday when the Pattaya resort island reopened after a closure lasting more than two months.
Ferries carried domestic tourists and island residents from Bali Hai Pier June 14. About 400 people in all made Monday morning journeys, which began at 7 a.m.
All tourists visiting Koh Larn are required to show identification at Bali Hai screening points to prevent illegal migrants from going to the island.
Pattaya municipal officers and Marine Department officials checked passengers’ temperatures and explained coronavirus-control rules, including social distancing on board the boats.
While regular service has resumed to the Front Pier, the Tawan Pier ferry is operating only at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., returning to the mainland at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Koh Larn is a linchpin in Pattaya’s plans to reopen to foreign tourists. Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said 80 percent of the island’s 4,000 residents and regular workers are now vaccinated against Covid-19, a far greater percentage than mainland Pattaya. Another 300 Koh Larn adults are scheduled to get jabs once Pattaya gets more vaccine doses, Sonthaya said.
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