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(L-R) Dr. Suriya Kuharat, Provincial Public Health Medical Doctor to Prachaub Kirikhan and the head of the Hua Hin Recharge project – public sector, Nopporn Vuttikul, Lord Mayor of Hua Hin, Sirisak Sirimangkala, Deputy Governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor for Tourism Authority of Thailand and Krod Rojanastien, President of Thai Spa Association, Committee of Thai Chamber of Commerce and Head of the Hua Hin Recharge project – private sector
As of 5 September 2021, Hua Hin has vaccinated 66,558, which covers 73% of the target population as herd immunity is one of the requirements for the safe reopening of the province.
At a press conference, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, minister of Tourism and Sports and chair of Hua Hin Recharge, confirmed that Hua Hin is on track for its October reopening where international travellers who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus will be welcome to visit the area without having to undergo the mandated quarantine period.
“Regarding the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s goal of 120-day deadline for fully reopening Thailand, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport has proceeded with the plans and achieved the reopening of phase one with the Phuket Sandbox. Hence, we are moving forward to phase two – starting with the list of 5 pilot areas including Bangkok, Chonburi, Petchaburi, Prachuab Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)’s approval,” Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said.
He stated, “The key factors include the area’s readiness, which has been seen in Hua Hin and importantly the number of COVID-19 infections in Thailand in mid-September. If it shows a significant decrease and is under control, the ministry will proceed for approval from the CCSA. By the deadline, the 5 pilot areas are expected to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to over 70% of their population.”
He continued, “Additionally, the ministry will propose to decrease number of quarantine days from 14 days to 7 days. As reported from the Phuket Sandbox up to this date, from over 25,000 travellers, the Covid cases found in incoming travellers was only 80 cases or 0.3% and 80% of them were screened out by the first test.”
Although Hua Hin achieved its target the whole Prachuab Khiri Khan province’s vaccination rate is still at 45.8% of population aged 18 and above. However, the province is confident to achieve the target vaccination by the time of the projected reopening.
“The most important thing to re-opening is the herd immunity. Petchaburi and Prachuab Khiri Khan, as a connecting route, need to be provided sufficient vaccines. However, as stated, both areas could evidently meet the timeline. This accomplishment could also lead to some restriction relaxing for a smooth environment for tourism, such as dining in restaurants and bars, tourism activities and traveling around in the area. The preparation and plans or SOP are required to be on set.” Minister Phiphat said.
To reopen is to manage the safety of the area for both domestic and inbound tourism. The administration needs to create balance. The Tourism Authority of Thailand aims to boost domestic tourism in the fourth quarter with Rao Tiew Duay Kan phase 3 and Tour Tiew Thai target which will be proposed to the National Economic and Social Development Council.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said that inbound tourism is expected to resume in the pilot areas to welcome a minimum of a million overseas travellers in the remaining months of 2021. The average expense per person is also set higher than before the COVID-19 figure from 50,000 THB to 75,000 per person per trip.
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