Tourism businesses in Phuket are reportedly ready to accommodate Chinese travelers who are expected to soon arrive in greater numbers. The Phuket Tourism Council has also expressed support for the use of non-discriminatory disease control measures that do not target travelers from specific countries.
Phuket Tourism Council Chairman Thanet Tantipiriyakit said tourism businesses in Phuket and the Andaman region have the readiness to accommodate incoming Chinese tourists. He acknowledged there were issues with rooms, service venues, and transportation early on when Thailand initially reopened to international travelers. He said most of the businesses are experienced with tourists, and the still relatively subdued numbers of tourists meant preparations can be effectively made.
Mr. Thanet noted that if tourist numbers rise to a level similar to pre-pandemic times then issues may arise as Phuket currently has a labor shortage and some businesses have yet to reopen due to a lack of access to funding. He added tourist numbers are expected to approach pre-pandemic levels in October this year when schools will be closed in China and people will make use of their Golden Week holidays to travel. He expressed support for the government’s implementation of non-discriminatory disease control measures in light of an expected influx of tourists from China.
Dr. Kusak Kukiattikoon, chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office, said Phuket has the medical readiness to welcome incoming tourists. He said more than 90% of people in Phuket have received two doses of the Covid vaccine. 69% received the third dose and 40% the fourth dose. There are only 3 to 5 Covid hospital admissions per day, therefore the province has spare capacity to accommodate a rise in patient numbers.
Dr. Kusak said Phuket locals are still observing disease control measures, especially the wearing of face masks. However, he would like vulnerable persons and members of the “608 Group” who are at risk of severe Covid symptoms and death to receive booster shots. He added that tourism businesses taking in new staff should inspect the newcomer’s vaccine record. If the person has yet to be vaccinated with a booster then the business may contact any public health facility to schedule the booster shot. (NNT)