Phuket’s hotels reported they received numerous cancellations from the UK following the British government’s announcement to add Thailand to its travel ‘red list’.
Meanwhile, existing guests rush to leave in order to avoid getting caught in a costly quarantine upon returning home.
Such reports come two days after the UK moved Thailand from its amber list to the red list, starting Monday, citing low vaccination rates and high coronavirus case numbers.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thailand Hotel Association (THA), said hotels participating in the Phuket Sandbox reopening program had received many cancellations from UK tourists.
Other travelers checked out early as they could face costly self-pay quarantine upon returning to the UK.
Mrs. Marisa said many guests started preparing to leave despite having just arrived as UK quarantine facilities’ prices are too costly.
“They said it would cost them around £2,200 (98,000 baht) for a 10-day package,” she added.
The THA’s president also said the situation was a setback for Phuket’s tourism reopening plan, noting that the risk of Covid-19 in the province and neighboring destinations was quite low compared to the rest of Thailand.
Phuket had recorded 25,030 arrivals under the sandbox scheme as of August 27, with only 75 Covid-19 cases among them.
Ms. Marisa stated that the THA expected the Thai government to inform the international community that the Covid-19 situation is under control in most of the south, arguing that the tourist reopening program is indispensable for Thailand’s recovery.
Worapol Ungtrakul, assistant managing director at Sunset Beach Resort and Oceanfront Beach Resort and Spa, also said that existing UK guests started leaving Phuket before the deadline.
Also, many bookings for September had been canceled, he added.
“Most of them didn’t want a postponement but are asking for a full refund as they were not certain about situation,” Mr. Worapol went on.
He also said it was difficult to predict the situation in the last quarter, as guests were avoiding early-bird deals due to strict entry requirements and changing regulations.