Phuket Sees Close to 1,000 Tourists Under Sandbox Scheme

Three Thai Airways International flights have brought another 122 tourists from Europe to Phuket, raising the total number of tourists under the quarantine-free sandbox scheme to nearly 1,000.

One hundred fifty-eight passengers traveled to Thailand on three flights from Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Paris, 122 of whom landed on the tourist island while the rest headed to the capital Bangkok. They were among the 484 passengers scheduled to arrive on seven flights in Phuket over the weekend.

But it has not been confirmed how many tourists from the other four flights plan to stay on the island.

Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket Office, said Phuket received 326 and 514 tourists on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of the sandbox program, respectively. With THAI flights landing on Saturday, the total number of foreign visitors was 962.

Health authorities confirmed they had not reported positive COVID-19 cases among arrivals in the last two days.

The Copenhagen flight, carrying 35 passengers, landed at 6:25 a.m, and 27 passengers disembarked in Phuket. Sixty-six travelers from an 85-passenger flight from Frankfurt stayed in Phuket at 7:10 a.m., and 19 others went to Bangkok.

The last flight arrived from Paris at 8:00 a.m. with 38 passengers, including 29 who stayed in the province.

The airline’s staff and officials -led by Thai executive Nont Kalintha, Deputy Governor of the Thailand Tourism Authority, Siripakorn Chiewsamut, and Phuket airport executives- warmly welcomed tourists traveling from Frankfurt.

According to Mr. Nont, THAI operates flights to Phuket in line with government policy to boost the economy and stimulate tourism through the sandbox project.

On Sunday, another two direct flights from Europe organized by THAI will arrive in Phuket. The current schedule, in effect from July to September, indicates that flights from Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Paris will land at the tourist destination every Saturday and flights from London and Zurich will arrive every Sunday.

Mr. Nont also said that THAI had planned to organize more flights during the cold season this year.

On Saturday, Phuket reported seven local infections, bringing the third wave figures to 746 cases and seven deaths. However, data on Friday showed that 67% of its residents (400,000) had been vaccinated, with 84% having received the first dose.