Thailand’s tourism minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, confirmed to business media that his ministry, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand were working on adding seven provinces in the Eastern seaboard and North-East Thailand to the reopening plans for foreign tourists. October is also slated for the reopening of Bangkok, Hua Hin and Cha-Am, according to the government’s timeline of “opening within 120 days”, that the Prime Minister previously announced. Hua Hin/Cha-am, ’Thailands Riviera’ is deemed of strategic importance to the nation and must be a central pillar of the governments policy on reopening.
Hua Hin newspaper had the opportunity to interview the new tourism director of Prachuap province, Mr Isra Stapanaseth, who was appointed on August 1st to replace Miss Soraya Homchuen who transfers to work in France, and he shared with us information on the measures that Hua Hin will take to open the city in October. He told us “Hua Hin has been making preparations to reopen 2 sub-districts of the city, Nong Kae & Hua Hin city centre, 86.36 sq. km with a population of 90,000.
The principle of the plan is that 70% of the population of this area must be vaccinated first, currently 50% has been achieved but it is expected the target will be reached before the end of September. Tourism and tourists have changed and safety and health have become a new focus, Hua Hin must be prepared and manage the development of the city accordingly. We must provide more activities for tourists during their stay, such as golf, soft adventure, wellness programs, and food content programs focusing on local food. In fact, tourists to our region are 75% Thai and 25% are high-value overseas visitors.
TAT now has agencies in 29 countries to market and publicise the benefits of Hua Hin, and much will depend on how much our city is ready to adapt and welcome foreign tourists. With the PR done we must complete our readiness and produce the brochures and online marketing materials, D-Day is approaching and the plan must be to fully open the country in January 2022”.
Options being looked at include setting up a command centre, possibly managed by Hua Hin Municipality, or maybe Prachuap Provincial Disease Control Division, to advise and give information, and tourists should download and use Apps during their stay. There are already many safety measures in place, tourists entering the country have to pass through a system of many screening measures such as;
1. Gaining a Certificate of Entry to Thailand, (COE).
2. Obtaining a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test result within 72 hours prior to travel.
3. Download and register in the ThailandPlus App.
4. Showing a Covid-19 vaccination record card.
5. Further RT- PCR testing after arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The re-opening plans show that tourists to Hua Hin/Cha-am will take a further RT-PCR test on arrival at their hotel, and only after 3 hours assuming the result is negative can they leave the hotel, at this stage though they must remain within the designated territory of 86.36 sq. km previously mentioned for the next 14 days.
There will be further tests on day 7 and day 13 and only after 3 negative tests are they allowed to travel outside the zone to wherever they like in Thailand. Hua Hin is 1 of the 5 cities that generate tourism income for the country. Hua Hin has long been a popular tourist destination among Thai’s, Bangkok residents love to visit for a long romantic weekend, but its popularity among foreign visitors is growing thus meriting its inclusion in the new ‘October scheme’.
Mr Krot Rojanasathien, member of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and President of the Thai Spa Association recently revealed the expectation that during the 4th quarter, (October-December 2021), there will be about 100,000 foreign tourists coming in and they will generate an income for the area of more than 1,200 million baht.
This would represent a great boost for local entrepreneurs, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, shops and businesses in all sectors, and a potential lifesaver for the more than 89,000 employees and workers in the service sector. Thailand is ramping up production of Covid-19 vaccines and hopes to have the capacity to produce between 1-5 million doses per month, 60 million doses per year.