Fears slow vaccine rollout could scupper Hua Hin’s plans to re-open to foreign tourists

Hua Hin file photo

Hua Hin has taken an important step in its bid to re-open to foreign tourists.

At a meeting held last week, plans to reopen the resort to foreigners were approved by officials at the Ministry of Tourism & Sports, according to Krod Rojanasthien, who is one of the leaders behind the proposals.

The proposals, dubbed the Hua Hin Recharge project, will see vaccinated foreign tourists be able to visit Hua Hin from October 1 without the need to quarantine.

As well as Hua Hin, Thailand’s National Tourism Policy Committee also approved similar plans to re-open Bangkok, Phetchaburi and Buriram.

Crucially, the plans, which still need formal approval by the Cabinet, are dependent on how quickly the government can roll out the vaccine to people living in Thailand.

In Hua Hin, tourism officials and business leaders are concerned the slow rollout of the vaccine could scupper the reopening plans.

The concern has been further compounded by the fact that less than expected numbers of people in the area have registered to receive the vaccine.

Since May 1, Thai people have been able to use the Mo Prom mobile app to book an appointment to receive the vaccine.

However, the number of registrations via the Mo Prom app from people in Prachuap Khiri Khan have so far not met government targets.

Volunteers have even been sent door-to-door to prompt people, particularly those deemed most at risk, to register for the vaccine.

Those behind the Hua Hin Recharge project are now urging people to register for the vaccine for the good of the town and so the reopening plans can go ahead.

Meanwhile, people working in the tourism industry in Hua Hin, Pranburi and Cha Am will start to receive the vaccine June 1.

As of May 11, a total of 12,345 people in Prachuap Khiri Khan had received the first dose of the vaccine, but only 1,929 people had received the second dose.