A player in the southern Thai tourism industry proposes “Danok Sandbox” to revitalize the economy

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SADAO (southern Thailand), September 17 (Bernama): Danok, a city in the province of Sadao in southern Thailand, is only a shadow of itself after the border between Thailand and Malaysia was closed in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Popular with Malaysians who love travel, entertainment, and shopping, Danok has been severely affected as it relies on the presence of foreigners, particularly from Malaysia and Singapore, to succeed.

Although the government allowed business to operate, the absence of visitors resulted in many restaurants, food stalls, entertainment centers and massage parlors being closed.

The advisor to the Danok Entrepreneurs Association, Dr. Suthiphong Sitthipataraprapha, proposed a program – “Danok Sandbox” – that would allow the city to open specifically 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,” which allows tourists vaccinated with two doses of vaccine to visit the island without quarantine.

“Visitors must undergo an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of arriving in Danok. They are only allowed to move within 2.7 kilometers of the border), ”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 welcomed 26,400 visitors from July 1 to August 31, and achieved sales of 1.63 billion baht.

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

To revitalize the tourism industry, Thailand is also planning to reopen other popular tourist destinations like 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 accelerate the vaccination campaign in Songkhla Province, particularly Danok, so that group immunity could be achieved in the near future.

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


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