Over 650 rooms have been booked on Koh Samui after reservations were opened for only three days, with Bangkok Airways also restarting flights from Phuket to the island, signaling keen interest in the reopening of Thailand’s south to tourism.
Bangkok Airways flight PG254 has transported 24 international tourists to Samui International Airport as part of the Phuket Extension 7+7 program allowing travelers within the Phuket Sandbox to continue onward to approved destinations such as Koh Samui. The flight was previously suspended on August 3 due to the COVID-19 situation.
Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association Chairman, Rachaporn Pulsawad explained that Phuket Extension 7+7 allows tourists who have been in Phuket for seven days to spend another seven on the islands of Samui, Phangan and Tao. He said over the three days since the program was announced, 650 hotel bookings were made on Koh Samui, calling the number satisfactory. He elaborated that arrivals have to be swabbed for COVID-19 twice, as part of strict virus preventative measures.
The chairman noted that the government’s approval of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines have allowed tourists from Russia and Ukraine to return to the Thai south. The development is in time for the regular arrival period of Russian and Ukrainian travelers, in the fourth quarter of each year. Surat Thani International Airport is being proposed as a direct destination for Russian flights and the association is looking to establish a Samui Sandbox. (NNT)