The following is a press release from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Their opinions are entirely their own.
Bangkok, 19 July 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to report the first foreign visitors to arrive under the ‘Samui Plus’ program have been enjoying the legendary Thai hospitality and natural beauty of Samui, as they travel around the popular holiday destination.
All arrived in the first two days of the Samui Plus program, which was launched on 15 July 2021, signaling the reopening of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao to fully vaccinated international tourists who can visit without the need to quarantine.
All the arrivals tested negative for COVID-19 on Day 0 of their trip in the mandatory test required by visitors under the Samui Plus regulations. Following this, from Days 1-3, they enjoyed the relaxing rooms and facilities of their Samui Extra Plus hotel accommodation before setting off on specified routes and travel programs by approved tour companies from Days 4-7. There are three such ‘sealed routes’ on offer to visiting tourists: Tham Rang Beach, Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, and Wellness and Spa.
There were five arrivals from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom who touched down at Samui Airport on Bangkok Airways flight PG5125, and another four from Singapore and Hong Kong on flight PG 5171, on Thursday, 15 July. Both flights were part of Bangkok Airways’ new three-times daily Bangkok-Samui service that enables international tourists to Samui to connect via Bangkok.
The nine arrivals on Thursday are members of the international media invited by the TAT to experience first-hand the Samui Plus program and to visit the three islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao.
Arriving from Japan the following day, on Friday, 16 July, was Mr. Dobashi Tsuguru, President of Sanyo Japan Marketing for International, a travel agency and sales agent for a number of hotels and resorts in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific.
Mr. Dobashi, who boasts 40 years of travel industry experience and is a board member of the Thai-Japan Tourist Association (TJTA), will be a guest speaker on 21 July 2021, “Amazing Thailand Update” online seminar organized by the TAT Tokyo Office. From his accommodation, he will be sharing his ‘Samui Plus’ experiences direct to the Japanese market, a major source of Asian arrivals to Thailand.
International visitors are required to stay at a Samui Extra Plus hotel in Samui only for the first 7 nights of their stay, and the second 7 nights in an SHA Plus hotel on Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, or Ko Tao. After this, they can travel to other destinations in Thailand. (See: General Information – Samui Plus and Samui Plus FAQs)
The ‘Samui Extra Plus’ and ‘SHA Plus’ hotels are officially approved in terms of hygiene and safety measures. The Samui Extra Plus hotels are formally ALQ hotels (now referred to as AQ hotels) specially assigned for the program, and the SHA Plus hotels are certified as meeting the necessary measures to control COVID-19, while also having at least 70% of their workforce fully vaccinated.
Throughout their visit, from arrival to departure, this group as well as incoming international arrivals will experience the extensive preparations and measures in place to ensure the health and safety of both tourists and the local people. At every step of the way, service providers are well-trained to be good hosts to all guests; from airport arrival procedures, car and van transfers, hotel arrival and quarantine to guides, sealed beaches, boat and yacht travel, wellness, water sports activities, restaurant dining, and more.
For Samui Plus tourists embarking on waterborne travel, there are three dedicated ports and piers: Na Phra Lan, Thong Sala, and Baan Mae Haad.
To ensure the success of the Samui Plus program and the destination’s reopening, TAT has been working closely with public and private sector partners. This has involved a carefully planned 10-step process: 1 – comprehensive training and workshop to address in detail all points concerning the reopening of Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao; 2 – public health measures to prepare medical personnel and supplies; 3 – publicity and communications; 4 – screening measures for air, sea, and land arrivals; 5 – control and safety measures for both inside and outside of business venues; 6 – transportation measures for tourists and those infected via air, sea, and land; 7 – revenue distribution to the local community; 8 – monitoring and assessment; 9 – waste management, and 10 – marketing.
TAT expects some 1,000 foreign tourists to arrive under the Samui Plus program during the first month, from 15 July to 15 August, generating 180 million Baht in revenue.