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Phuket gets 42,000 overseas visitors

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Phuket gets 42,000 overseas visitors

Tourist isle magnet pulling them in

Foreign visitors arrive at Phuket airport after a direct flight from Europe on Sunday. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

More than 42,000 international travellers have flown to Phuket during July 1-Oct 5, generating more than 2 billion baht for the economy, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Since Oct 1, the government has cut the quarantine time to seven days for fully vaccinated international visitors under the Sandbox scheme, allowing tourists who land in Phuket to hop to other popular designated destinations in Phangnga, Krabi and Surat Thani.

They can stay in those destinations for seven days, from the previous 14-day requirement, before being able to travel further to other parts of Thailand.

TAT Phuket director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri said Phuket welcomed 42,006 visitors during the July 1-Oct 5 period.

Most were long-haul travellers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, France and Germany. They generated up to 2 billion baht.

“We set the target at 100,000 visitors because we thought we would have both short-and long haul visitors. But so far most of our visitors are from the United States and Europe,” she said.

TAT is optimistic the number of tourists visiting the Phuket Sandbox will increase.

“We see good signs that tourism in Phuket is picking up,” she said.

The total of room reservations at Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus-certified hotels from July this year to next February is 754,777 room nights, including 168,759 room nights in October.

“About 84% of visitors are satisfied with the SHA Plus-certified hotels,” she said.

Meanwhile, Phuket provincial health chief Dr Kusak Kukiatiikoon says the Covid-19 infection rate is declining.

“During the past week, the daily infection rate has been 170-180 people. On Tuesday, we found four positive cases from the Phuket Sandbox programme on top of 175 local infections,” he said.

There were 3,993 patients still under treatment for Covid-19 at hospitals. About 22% were yellow-coded patients and 28% red-coded patients with severe conditions. Phuket still had 2,367 available beds for Covid-19 patients, he said.

For the ratio of inoculated people in Phuket, 88.13% out of 547,548 people had been given their first shot, 83.34% the second dose and 41.36% received a third dose.

Regarding vaccinations for students aged 12-18, Dr Kusak said 24,787 students have requested inoculation.

“We have received 12,780 doses of Pfizer vaccines from the Public Health Ministry. We will start to vaccinate the first group of students during Oct 8-11,” he said. The rest of the students will receive the vaccine around the end of this month. “We will have enough vaccines for every student in time before the school opens,” he said.

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