Southern Thai Tourism Industry Player Offers “Danok Sandbox” to Boost Economy

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SADAO (southern Thailand), Sept 17 (Bernama): Danok, a town in Sadao province in southern Thailand, is just a shadow of itself following the closure of the Thailand border -Malaysia since March of last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Popular with Malaysians who enjoy travel, entertainment and shopping, Danok is severely affected as he depends on the presence of foreigners, especially those from Malaysia and Singapore, to thrive.

Although the government has allowed the corporate sector to operate, the lack of visitors has resulted in the closure of many restaurants, food stalls, entertainment centers and massage parlors.

Danok Entrepreneurs Association adviser Dr Suthiphong Sitthipataraprapha suggested a program – “Danok Sandbox” – where the city can be opened especially to visitors from Malaysia who have completed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Suthipong’s inspiration for the plan came from the success of the “Phuket Sandbox” where tourists inoculated with two doses of the vaccine are allowed to visit the resort island without quarantine.

“Visitors must undergo an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of arriving in Danok. They can only move within 2.7 kilometers of the border. Other than that, they can only stay in hotels recommended by the Safety and Health Administration (SHA), ”he told Bernama.

Last June, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced that Thailand would reopen its borders to international visitors within 120 days or by mid-October.

As part of the “Phuket Sandbox” program, Phuket hosted 26,400 visitors from July 1 to August 31, generating baht 1.63 billion in revenue.

Thailand has also launched “Samui Plus”, where tourists have the opportunity to visit Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao since July 15th. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the program, through August 31, had received 918 visitors. and 6,329 room reservations, as well as sales of 37.6 million baht.

In an effort to revive the tourism industry, Thailand also plans to reopen more popular tourist destinations, including Bangkok and four other provinces – namely Chonburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai – in October.

Meanwhile, Songkhla Province Tourism Industry Council Vice President Aida Oujeh hoped the Thai government could speed up the vaccination campaign in Songkhla province, especially Danok, in order to achieve group immunity in the near future.

“So far, the injection (rate) of Covid-19 vaccine in Danok is only 30-35%,” Aida said, adding that tour guides, taxi drivers, tuk-tuks and tourist vans should be vaccinated. – Bernama


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