‘Samui Plus’ Scheme: Delays Mean Slow Reopening Likely

The Samui Plus scheme anticipates slow opening after a surge in Covid-19 daily cases and delays in the registration process to obtain the Certificate of Entry (CoE).

Additionally, travel agents ask for clear regulations before launching marketing plans to promote the program.

According to Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, the plan requires a month or two to raise awareness, as customer’s experience must be tested first.

Bangkok Airways will operate flights to Koh Samui as planned despite the latest partial-lockdown and stricter measures imposed in the capital.

The airline set one Bangkok-Koh Samui route twice daily, three daily sealed route flights for international travelers from Bangkok to Koh Samui, and four weekly Koh Samui-Phuket flights from Friday.

Moreover, Bangkok Airways is set to start international flights between Koh Samui and Singapore from August 1.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said 11 international media houses from the UK, France, Hong Kong, Germany, and Singapore would inspect the program tomorrow.

Four foreign tourists from Japan and Taiwan would arrive on Monday, the TAT added.

According to official figures, 33 seats were booked in July, 20 seats on August, 10 in September, and 17 in October.

“We do not expect an influx of international travelers in the third quarter because the country is still dealing with a high number of cases,” Mr. Ratchaporn said.

He added that Samui Plus expects to test the waters and prepare operators to receive more travelers when tourism recovers.

To date, 177 out of 671 hotels and 8,629 out of 25,000 rooms have reopened in Koh Samui.

Besides, 19 hotels with 400 rooms have been designated as Area Quarantine (AQ) for the first seven days of tourists’ stay.

The price for a 7-day stay at an AQ is between 35,000-100,000 baht, including 16,000 baht for medical fees and three swab tests.

But tourists can get a 4,000 baht refund for the swab test fee if they stay less than 14 days.

They will also be refunded 6,000 baht and 8,000 baht for the second and third tests, respectively.

Mr. Ratchaporn said that the current average occupancy is around 10% due to staycation guests.

However, the number is expected to increase to 20-30% in the third quarter when marketing campaigns start.

If more than 20 cases are detected among arrivals under sealed routes in two weeks, tourists would have to stay in quarantine facilities.

Furthermore, if the island’s case toll increases to 40, stricter measures will be implemented.

Koh Samui’s Covid-19 Center is the designated entity to cancel Samui Plus if necessary.