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It is now less than a week before the launch of the Phuket Sandbox.
With over-the-top hype, months of promotion, endless guidelines and warning from every sector, the debate over its implementation and prosecution rages on.
But this week, it was revealed that the government has yet to provide a list of the so-called “low to medium” risk countries that will be allowed to enter Phuket.
If the people in charge understand what planning ahead is, that list should have been out since last month.
Potential visitors are already complaining about the increase of the mandatory stay from 7 to 14 days on the island. They have complained about the high amount of documentation that they have to prepare. They are complaining about the fact that bars are still closed and over the three Covid tests that have to take while in Phuket.
But rather than help facilitate and make things easier for tourists looking to come to Phuket, the government has not even done its own homework.
How is it that just a week before the program is about to start, we still do not know who will be allowed to enter? What about people that have planned to come only to be left out at the last moment?
The lack of consideration in this aspect is very alarming given that this is supposed to be the project that sits at the heart of the plan to reopen the country in around 120 days or so.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s dream that Phuket will be able to welcome about 100,000 visitors between July and September seems more and more like just that, a dream.
The reality is that hotel bookings at accommodations that are certified with the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification is still low because of poor communication by the government.
If the government wants the booking number to increase then they must provide more clarity on where exactly can people fly from.
Being overly cautious and unclear about everything will only continue to put people off from even trying to make a booking.
The sand box is the country’s only hope to show that this government is competent enough to reopen the country without having a potential outbreak.
So far, it has proven anything but competent.
According to the Ministry of Public Health’s website, the list of medium to low risk countries is being updated every 15 days.
The latest update was provided on June 16.
However, when foreign reporters asked the Prime Minister Press Office on Wednesday, the reply was that the lists were not yet ready.