Key stakeholders met on Tuesday (Sept 28) to discuss details regarding the reopening of Hua Hin to vaccinated foreign tourists from November 1.
The meeting which was chaired by Mr. Isara Satanaset, Prachuap Khiri Khan Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and held at Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, was attended by representatives from Hua Hin-Cha-am Tourism Business Association, Prachuap Khiri Khan Golf Association, as well as numerous golf course operators, hotels, tour companies, car rental companies and others involved in the tourism sector in Hua Hin.
The meeting aimed to discuss drafting the guidelines, or rather Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), for welcoming foreign tourists from November 1.
The draft SOP centres around five factors:
- Ensuring venues meet SHA plus+ standards
- Having a city wide monitoring system, such CCTV operating throughout
- Establishing a marketing and communication plan
- Establishing a command centre, with the Mor Prom/Thai Chana apps used to monitor tourists in real time
- Communicating the reopening to locals in Hua Hin
The meeting heard how the aim is for tourists to travel from Suvarnabhumi to Hua Hin on specially chartered buses which will also need to have met the SHA plus+ safety standards.
If there were too few tourists to warrant using a bus, then other vehicles such as cars may be used instead. Whichever vehicle type is used, the journey from Suvarnabhumi airport to Hua Hin will form part of a so-called ‘sealed route’.
Mr. Kittipong Siriphetkasem, Vice President of Hua Hin-Cha-am Tourism Business Association added that the Hua Hin Car Company Limited has already applied for the SHA standards.
If approved, then cars rather than buses may be more convenient for tourists to travel between Suvarnabhumi and Hua Hin.
The issue was then raised regarding toilet stops for passengers. One solution put forward was to establish a stop along the sealed route, which would also need to pass the SHA plus+ safety standards.
Under the November 1 reopening plans, tourists are not required to quarantine in a hotel room. However, they are restricted in terms of where they can travel to in Hua Hin.
Under the plans, vaccinated tourists can travel freely within Hua Hin and Nong Kae districts within the first seven days of their arrival. After that, providing they test negative for COVID-19, they can travel elsewhere in Thailand.
However, the issue was raised that three of the area’s leading golf courses – namely the Banyan, Black Mountain and Springfield – are located outside Hua Hin and Nong Kae districts.
A proposal was put forward to establish other ‘sealed routes’ to each of the golf courses, which would be used to safely transport tourists who wish to play golf from their hotels to each of the courses.
The final draft of the SOP then needs to be approved by Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) prior to it being implemented.