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Phuket to reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists without quarantine from 1 July 2021

Bangkok, 29 March, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that Phuket will be the first destination in Thailand to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors witho...
Bangkok, 29 March, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that Phuket will be the first destination in Thailand to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors without quarantine requirements from 1 July.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA), chaired by Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Friday (26 March 2021) approved in principle the plan to reopen the country in stages with Phuket being the pilot destination.
 
From 1 April 2021, foreign travellers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to visit Phuket under a 0+7 quarantine in a sealed area. Meaning, they must remain in their hotel accommodation for the first seven days and will then be allowed to engage in leisure tourism activities in specified areas. From 1 July, 2021, vaccinated foreign travellers will be allowed to visit Phuket without quarantine.
 
However, all foreign tourists who want to enter Phuket during the above mentioned two stages will be required to present proof that they have received two doses of the vaccine that is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
 
Other essential documents include a medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR method, issued no longer than 72 hours before departure; a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by the Embassy; valid visa or re-entry permit; health insurance policy.
 
Upon arrival at the Phuket International Airport, tourists will be required to undergo a COVID-19 screening, including PCR tests, and download the specified track and trace application to ensure that they only visit the designated areas. Mr. Yuthasak said the CESA may consider testing the reopening plan, under a 0+7 quarantine in specified areas model, in some other destinations, including Krabi, Phang Nga, Ko Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.
 
“Phuket will be the pilot destination that will lift quarantine requirements from 1 July onwards while other destinations will still require a seven-day quarantine. Starting from the fourth quarter of this year, quarantine is expected to be lifted entirely in all areas.”
However, the plan to reopen Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists in stages is pending the official announcement mid April. Travellers are therefore recommended to enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country for more details.
 
“Phuket will be the pilot destination that will lift quarantine requirements from 1 July onwards while other destinations will still require a seven-day quarantine. Starting from the fourth quarter of this year, quarantine is expected to be lifted entirely in all area.”
However, the plan to reopen Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists in stages is pending the official announcement. Travellers are recommended to enquire at the Royal Thai Embassy in Pretoria for more details.

 
 

Phuket launches Thailand’s first ‘Digital Yacht Quarantine’ project

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) together with Thai yachting organisations in Phuket, as well as key public ...
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) together with Thai yachting organisations in Phuket, as well as key public and private sector technology providers, are partnering to launch Thailand’s first ‘Digital Yacht Quarantine’ project.

The initiative is meant to stimulate yacht tourism to Phuket and allow visitors to conveniently complete their 14-day quarantine requirement in the comfort on their own yacht.

Digital Yacht Quarantine is based around smart watch health trackers using NB-IoT technology that will allow Thai medical officials to monitor the health of visitors up to 10 kilometres offshore. After arrival, visitors are to liaise with a representative from the Thai Yacht Business Association (TYBA), which will act as the coordinating agent between the Thai health authorities to arrange COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.

After testing, visitors will then be fitted with one of two smart watch health trackers, either the Active 10+ or the Smartwatch Active 30+ models, developed by PMH Holding Company Limited (POMO House).

The smart watch health tracker must be worn by visitors at all the times to measure the pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature. The information will be monitored in real time by relevant Thai health authorities via a dashboard at the Ao Po Pier. Both devises can also send out an emergency SOS signal if visitors need urgent medical assistance.

After the 14-day quarantine period is complete, all data will be analysed again before allowing visitors to embark and go ashore in Phuket.

Thailand first launched the yacht quarantine in October 2020, with no COVID-19 infections detected since then and expects the expanded digital project could attract more than 100 yachts and 300 to 500 visitors during 2021.

The Digital Yacht Quarantine project is led by Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), together with Advanced Info Service (AIS), PMH Holding Company Limited (POMO House), PMH-service providers, and the Thai Yacht Business Association (TYBA). The expanded project endeavours to build confidence in the Thai public health sector and create additional arrival and revenue streams for Phuket tourism operators as the destination gradually reopens to more international visitors.

Phuket rolls out new events and festivals for 2021

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office, in cooperation with Phuket’s public and private sector partners, is pleased to announce a series of new events and festivals, scheduled bet...
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office, in cooperation with Phuket’s public and private sector partners, is pleased to announce a series of new events and festivals, scheduled between now and November 2021.

Leveraging on Phuket’s outstanding beaches and charming Sino-Portuguese buildings as well as popular local delicacies, the events and festivals include:

Seafood festival: The first of the “Roi Rim Lay Phuket Festival” was held on 26-28 February, 2021, at Saphan Hin. The event featured more than 170 stalls, mostly offering renowned local delicacies, fresh and cooked seafood, as well as agricultural and tourism-related products at reasonable prices.

The next “Roi Rim Lay Phuket Festival” will be held at Patong Beach on 19-21 March, 2021, and at Laguna Grove in Cherng Talay on 10-12 April, 2021.

Sports event: The island’s first-ever Amazing Thailand Phuket Surfskate Series 2021 was launched on 20 February, 2021, at Phuket Old Town. Next events of this fast-growing street surfing sport are scheduled for 20 March at Kata Beach, 23 May at Karon Beach, 14 August at Patong Beach, and 13 November at Surin Beach.

Arts event: The Kata Karon Hotel Association has initiated the “Art Vasion” project featuring street art paintings by 35 artists from Phuket and Bangkok to create new ‘check-in’ points for visitors. The paintings can be found at five key locations: the canal-side area between Club Med Phuket and OZO Phuket; the beachside alleyway near The Boathouse Phuket; Kata’s beachfront wall near the Surf House Phuket; the wall in front of The SIS Kata, and The Pizza Company’s wall.

In addition, Laguna Phuket is staging the ‘Revive 555 Festival’, a series of events starting from 31 March to 18 April, 2021 (more details about the Revive 555 Festival here).

Tourism operators in Phuket are also offering special discounts and privileges at www.phuketgreattime.com
                                              

Thai tourism minister leads expats on Ratchaburi canal tour

As the South African Marketing representative office for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), we are delighted to announce that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that ...
As the South African Marketing representative office for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), we are delighted to announce that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that In line with the government’s policy to develop tours and recreational activities based around Thailand’s many canals and waterways, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Department of Tourism and the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism (DASTA), organised a full-day trip to Ratchaburi province on Saturday, 28 November, for expats and members of the media.

Bangkok, 28 November, 2020 – In line with the government’s policy to develop tours and recreational activities based around Thailand’s many canals and waterways, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Department of Tourism and the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism (DASTA), organised a full-day trip to Ratchaburi province on Saturday, 28 November, for expats and members of the media.
Led by H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, the ‘Withi Khlong Withi Thai Following the King’s Footsteps to Damnoen Saduak Canal’ tour was the third in a series of such tours aimed at encouraging the long-stay foreign community to travel more within Thailand. The tours promote the inclusion of local communities.

Minister Phiphat said, “The Ministry of Tourism and Sports in cooperation with the tourism-related government organisations are working closely to help stimulate domestic travel among the expat community. One of our key focusses are the unique aspects of Thailand’s waterway-based lifestyle. Ratchaburi is a prime example of this, and something we believe has much to offer our long-stay foreigners.”
The trip to Ratchaburi – 80 km to the west of Bangkok and bordering Myanmar – focussed on waterway-based touring opportunities and how tourists can experience the local way of life of the Thai people and their connection to water. Home to the already world-famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where vendors ply canals in wooden boats selling fruit, vegetables and various goods, the trip took the opportunity to showcase some of the province’s other attractions.
The customised itinerary offered a fascinating glimpse of Khlong Damnoen Saduak and over 200 small canals, which were created during the reign of King Rama IV the Great, the local agricultural lifestyle and intriguing historic sites like the over 145-year-old Wat Choti Thayakaram. King Rama V the Great and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great both visited the temple, and the tour followed in these royal footsteps.
From the temple, participants travelled by solar-powered long-tail boat to Ban Mahat Lek Chek Huat, also visited by King Rama V the Great. They then continued on to Lao Tak Lak Market, the first traditional floating market in Thailand where ancient Thai-Chinese wooden row architecture can still be seen, and there is a floating market museum and exhibition on electric boats for environmental conservation and the ‘white tourism’ project.

Other inclusions on the ‘Withi Khlong Withi Thai Following the King’s Footsteps to Damnoen Saduak Canal’ tour were visits to Mae Thongyib Farm and Mae Thongyip Agricultural Garden where activities include weaving, making Thai desserts, and garden cruising. Other stops included the Bang Le Sugar Park and Ladies Golf Pier.
The afternoon activities presented participants with their choice of either a taste of adventure with Sup Board rowing or a glimpse into the local culture through art and pottery painting.   
Travel between the various attractions was by long-tail boat, giving participants an exhilarating taste of getting around local-style and a chance to partake in scavenger hunt-style route checks along the way.
Other inclusions on the ‘Withi Khlong Withi Thai Following the King’s Footsteps to Damnoen Saduak Canal’ tour were visits to Mae Thongyib Farm and Mae Thongyip Agricultural Garden where activities include weaving, making Thai desserts, and garden cruising. Other stops included the Bang Le Sugar Park and Ladies Golf Pier.
The afternoon activities presented participants with their choice of either a taste of adventure with Sup Board rowing or a glimpse into the local culture through art and pottery painting.   
Travel between the various attractions was by long-tail boat, giving participants an exhilarating taste of getting around local-style and a chance to partake in scavenger hunt-style route checks along the way.
 
While in Ratchaburi, Minister Phiphat took the opportunity to present the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Certification to representatives from four local communities; namely, Wat Choti Thayakaram Community, Ban Mahat Lek Chek Huat Community, the Old Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Community Enterprise, and Mae Thongyib Farm Tourism Community Enterprise.

Established in May 2020, under collaboration between TAT and numerous public and private sector partners, the SHA certification is a recognition that an establishment meets the standards of hygiene and health safety for their products and services in accordance with the nationwide measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
 
 

Thai Massaman curry topped “The World’s 50 Best Foods”

 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that CNN Travel has placed Thai Massaman curry as the No. 1 dish in “The World’s 50 Best Foods list, along with Tom Yum...
 The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that CNN Travel has placed Thai Massaman curry as the No. 1 dish in “The World’s 50 Best Foods list, along with Tom Yum Kung in the eighth place and Som Tam papaya salad, which ranked at 46th.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said, “This listing is a testament to the already solid reputation of Thai cuisine that is increasingly perceived as a world-class culinary experience. Thailand is certainly a great destination for foodie tourism.“Once the COVID-19 situation improves, we are more than ready to welcome tourists and foodies from around the world to embark on a culinary journey and explore Thainess through Thai dishes in unique destinations across Thailand.”
 
The latest CNN Travel World’s 50 Best Foods list was updated in September 2020, on the original article that was previously published in 2011, then reformatted, updated and republished in 2017, and updated since then.
 
CNN Travel staff said that they had scoured the planet for what they thought were 50 of the most delicious foods ever created. The three Thai dishes were ranked and described as follows:

Massaman curry, 1st place: Emphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury. Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential.
Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce. “The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.

Tom Yum Kung, 8th place
: This best food Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favourite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

Som Tam papaya salad, 46th place: To prepare Thailand’s most famous salad, pound garlic and chillies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya. Grab a side of sticky rice. Variations include those made with crab (som tam pu) and fermented fish sauce (som tam pla ra), but none matches the flavour and simple beauty of the original.
 
 



 

Readers of Condé Nast Traveller rated Thailand among Top 20 Best Countries in the World

Bangkok, 12 October 2020 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is delighted to announce that Thailand has ranked among the Top 20 Countries in the World by readers of Condé Nast Trave...
Bangkok, 12 October 2020 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is delighted to announce that Thailand has ranked among the Top 20 Countries in the World by readers of Condé Nast Traveller in the 33rd Readers’ Choice Awards 2020. Thailand received a score of 92.62, thus placing it in 7th place.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai was placed 2nd on the Top 10 Best Small Cities, and Ko Pha Ngan was rated 3rd on the Top 5 Best Islands in Asia.
 
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said, “We are always proud to see Thailand on this list, but in this challenging year when the COVID-19 restrictions are affecting international travel, it is indeed a very special honour.
 
“We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to the readers of Condé Nast Traveller as well as travellers from across the globe for their confidence in Thailand. When all difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic have improved, Thailand will certainly be more than ready to welcome international tourists once again.”
 
According to Condé Nast Traveller, the Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 represent the first time that voters made their picks when almost no one was traveling. It said the names in this year’s edition were the ones that brought voters comfort, that they still connected with long afterward and got them through the months without travel.
 
“These are the enduring gems that can withstand the test of time and the vicissitudes of circumstances. So while it is always an honour to be on this list, in this strangest of years, it is a special honour, indeed,” the magazine said, adding that “Many readers have told us that when we emerge from this pandemic, they want to turn their attention to the classics, whether that means personal favourites or places they know have brought joy to others."
 

The Sis Kata and Pattra Mansion are now OPEN!

Greetings from AKSARA Collection, Phuket. As a quick update to all our travel partners, we are pleased that we have been able to re-open two of our resorts taking advantage of the Royal Thai Govern...
Greetings from AKSARA Collection, Phuket.

As a quick update to all our travel partners, we are pleased that we have been able to re-open two of our resorts taking advantage of the Royal Thai Government’s “Thai Travel Together” program in which the Royal Thai Government offer to pay 40% of the guest’s room rate via AGODA.com platform. Resorts are not charged for this so we are not deduced any commissions which is fabulous and results in our local Thai and Expat guests being able to come and stay at our usual very low season rates! Originally operating until end of October, the Royal Thai Government have now extended the program until 31st January 2021.

Sadly with the continued situation, we have had to make the hard decision to keep our most famous resort ‘Kata Sea Breeze’ closed until maybe April 2021. IF, and we truly hope, that borders between some of our main high season generating countries, we can re-open a little sooner as we are sure that many of the large number of repeating guests are anxious and ready to return to their ‘second home’ here in the land of smiles.
 
We are deeply saddened to see that some of our long standing partners have been closed down and we would like to pass our deepest heartfelt thanks to them all and hope to see you all again very soon back in the business of making guests dreams come true once again.
 
Congratulations to those who have managed to join other companies and a personal thanks to those who have contacted us from their new ‘homes’ to look at joining forces once again. This is truly heart warming.
 
Our team has been greatly reduced as expected, how-ever we are now working parttime from The SIS Kata, so please feel free to email us as before and we shall of course reply as soon as we can.
 
It has been encouraging to see some partners looking a bit further afield at the time asking for special rates to be in place for Summer 2021 in the hope that things will start moving once again.
 
So from all of us here, we would like to send our virtual hugs and smiles to you all and please keep in touch.
 
Stay safe and we will meet again soon.
 
Matt C Hindmarch
Director of Hotel & Resorts, AKSARA Collection, Phuket

matt@aksaracollection.com
www.aksaracollection.com

Cabinet approves ‘special tourist visa’ for long-staying visitors

Bangkok, 16 September 2020 – The Thai Cabinet has approved in principle a proposal by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to grant a special tourist visa (STV) for long-staying visitors. Under t...
Bangkok, 16 September 2020 – The Thai Cabinet has approved in principle a proposal by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to grant a special tourist visa (STV) for long-staying visitors.
Under the STV scheme, long-staying visitors can stay in the country for 90 days, which can be extended twice, each for a further 90 days. The visa will cost 2,000 Baht per 90-day extension. 
The special visa scheme is expected to become effective after the official announcement and will be available until 30 September 2021. The STV will be granted to long-staying visitors who comply with Thailand’s COVID-19 control and preventive measures. They will be required to undergo a 14-day alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) upon their arrival. They must also have proof of their long-term residence in Thailand such as, hotel reservation, rental contract, or evidence of ownership of a condominium. 

The policy is expected to become effective after the official announcement and will be available until 30 September 2021.
 
 

TAT Governor urges industry patience and solidarity to overcome the COVID-19 crisis

Bangkok, 12 September, 2020 – Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn has appealed to the Thai tourism industry to be patient, united, and confident in weathering the ...
Bangkok, 12 September, 2020 – Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn has appealed to the Thai tourism industry to be patient, united, and confident in weathering the current crisis, which under a best-case scenario will almost certainly be over by 2021.

Speaking to the Thai Hotels Association (THA), the country’s largest travel trade grouping, the Governor said that although this was the worst of the many crises that Thailand has experienced, it would be overcome with the same spirit of solidarity and unity like in the past.
 
He said TAT would lead the country’s largest foreign exchange earner and job-creating industry into a new future that would see creative and innovative solutions being applied to building a more sustainable and resilient industry.
 
The Governor said he did not want to focus on how much pain the industry had suffered, but rather on how to prepare positively for the time when a vaccine would be found and restrictions on international travel lifted.
 
He said that under a best-case scenario, if there are no more disruptions, TAT is projecting 20.8 million international visitors in 2021, which would be about half the record arrivals of 39.8 million arrivals in 2019. The primary source markets would be Northeast Asia and the ASEAN countries, with a customer target of people in good health and high-purchasing power.
 
The crisis had created an opportunity to deal with old problems; such as, illegal hotels, tour operators and guides, waste problem and tourist exploitation. “I would like to see these problems disappear along with COVID-19. Let’s rebuild the industry. How can we learn to play a new game? How do we create this new future together?”
 
Citing one positive outcome, he noted that national parks had now set strict limitations on the number of visitors in line with carrying capacity principles. He expressed hope this would remain in place after the COVID-19 crisis recedes. Another positive outcome is the new focus on improving the quality of hygiene and sanitation.
 
He said that TAT was working overtime to help hotel businesses tap the potential of domestic tourism and maintain an occupancy of at least 30%, not so much to enhance business profitability, but rather to help maintain employment levels.
 
Mr. Yuthasak said he had formulated a three-dimensional (3D) strategy for the transition to a new era.
1) Domestic tourism, which would now get more priority than previously. “It is clear that we have to stimulate and open up more opportunities to help each other, especially to tap the potential of the 12 million Thais who travelled abroad in 2019.”
2) Digitalisation of business processes would open up many new opportunities to find new customers, improve retention, cut costs, create value and grow revenue. TAT is very active on this front, and has many more projects in store for next year.
3) Dynamics: the industry as a whole has to create new dynamics and seek a better balance between creating efficiency and managing risk. “We don’t know what kind of crisis will happen next, but we have to be better prepared to deal with it. If there is ever a situation where we have to work from home, we will need a proper instruction manual on how to do it.”
 
Mr. Yuthasak said that nothing will be the same again, but that TAT is ready to help the industry adapt to new challenges and to support, encourage, motivate, and lead it towards a more promising future. “We are ready to be the wind beneath your wings. I believe we have to come back stronger. Never give up. You are not alone. TAT will help you all overcome the COVID- 19 crisis together.”
 
 

Covid-19 Update


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