- Tourism leaders at a Phuket Sandbox Summit are urging European governments to recognize Phuket’s status as a safe haven for international travelers.
- “Green List” Sandbox destinations is what will drive global tourism recovery says Banyan Tree Group Founder KP Ho.
- As long as that Sandbox is well-organized, as it is in Phuket, it should be separated from the rest of the country.
As Bangkok grapples with rising numbers of COVID-19 infections, KP Ho, has told European envoys, airlines, senior officials, and business leaders, that for Phuket Sandbox to succeed, it is imperative for Phuket to be given “green” destination status.
Phuket has the potential to lead the global tourism recovery, as the historic Phuket Sandbox initiative sets the standard for other destinations to follow, he said. But, to succeed, governments need to recognize it as a safe, self-enclosed destination, rather than combining its travel status with the rest of Thailand.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Weighs In
KP Ho’s position was supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) at the Phuket Sandbox Summit. Deputy Governor for International Marketing Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americans, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, said: “We are trying to propose Phuket to the UK government to be on the green list of destinations, even though Thailand is on the amber list. We are optimistic about Phuket Sandbox. Phuket is safe and we will never compromise anyone’s safety.”
He confirmed there were almost 300,000 rooms booked until the end of August in SHA Plus hotels, with nearly 13,000 arrivals and 124 flights after 28 days, with many more scheduled. Top markets are the US, UK, Israel, Germany, France, the UAE, and Switzerland with an average length of stay 11 days.
As anxiety grows across Southeast Asia’s key travel destinations struggling with infection numbers, the Phuket Sandbox model is rapidly becoming the standard bearer of hope for the tourism industry.