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Prayut Touts ‘Phuket Transformation’ Plan to Draw 1 Million Tourists by March

Thailand is gearing up to promote Phuket as a world-class tourist destination, hoping to welcome a million foreign visitors over the next six months and generate at least 60 billion baht in revenue.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha explained the “Phuket transformation” initiative on his Facebook page on Friday, saying that this program aims to attract up to a million high-quality foreign travelers as well as those who are on a “workation” during the 4th quarter of this year all the way to the 1st quarter of 2022. That is an average of 5,000 visitors per day.

He expects around 500,000 tourists to travel via chartered flights to Thailand from England, Russia, Germany, and Nordic countries from October to March.

Prayut said the government will develop online-registration systems, including health screening and vaccination certificates, to make travel more convenient.

The premier also hailed the “sandbox” programs as a success – despite they drew less than a third of expected visitors – saying they helped stimulate the economy and had not led to any setback in the country’s Covid-19 containment measures.

The Phuket sandbox gave life to two other programs – “Samui Plus” and the “Phuket Extension”. Together, they contributed 2.3 billion baht to the economy as of Sept. 27, even though Samui drew only 786 people to its program.

Under the schemes, small- and medium-sized busiensses are provided with a subsidy to help them retain employees.

The premier noted now that new cases have been on a decline and more businesses have resumed, the government can shift its focus to economic recovery.