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Phuket ‘Sandbox’ Draws 33,059 Visitors, 1/3 of Original Plan

'Sandbox' tourists arrive at Phuket International Airport.
'Sandbox' tourists arrive at Phuket International Airport.

The Phuket “sandbox “ program welcomed 33,059 international arrivals in the its two-and-a-half months, a a third of what was hoped for.

From July 1-Sept. 16, fully vaccinated international travelers arrived in Phuket on direct international flights operated by Thai Airways International, Etihad Airways EL AL, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

The U.S., U.K, Israel, Germany and France were the biggest markets. Meanwhile, advance room bookings continue to come in.

Phuket sandbox visitors are required to stay at SHA+ government-certified hotels on Phuket where 70 percnet of the resort’s workforce is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

With 161,384 room nights currently on the books for September, the three-month total for July to September is presently at 528,365 room nights. These included 190,843 room nights in July and 176,121 nights in August. Looking further ahead, the present total of room nights for the period of October 2021 to February 2022 is 74,362 room nights.

A survey of sandbox visitors showed 80 percent of respondents were satisfied with Phuket’s hospitality and 85 percent were happy with the government-certified hotels.

They also rated the top five most satisfaction on: SHA+ airport shuttle, booking service for SHA+ airport shuttle, booking service for SHA+ hotels, the overall quality of service at Phuket International Airport, and the health screening upon arrival in Phuket.

The survey was conducted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand between July 11 and Sept. 15. The 117 respondents were visitors from Israel (36), the U.S. (17), Germany (11), the U.K. (10), Switzerland (8), and others (i.e. Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxemburg, Qatar, Bahrain, and Singapore). About 80 percent of the respondents were 25-56 years of age.

Alongside the necessary health and safety measures in place for the visiting international travellers, Phuket’s vaccination program as of Sept. 12 has seen 92 percent of the local population had received their first vaccine dose, while 81 percent had completed the two-dose series. Phuket is also currently embarking on giving the third vaccine dose, or a booster dose.