Government closes “wellness sandbox”

Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, on November 8, 2021. (Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

The government plans to promote Hua Hin and Cha-am as Thailand’s “wellness sandbox” to attract health-conscious tourists from around the world.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Friday that the Center for Economic Situation Administration (Cesa) has approved in principle the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) proposal to promote the “Thailand Wellness Sandbox” for Prachuap Khiri Khan and Cha-am districts in Hua Hin Phetchaburi.

According to the spokesman, Hua Hin and Cha-am are being touted as spa tourism destinations, which will appeal to tourists from ASEAN’s neighboring countries, as well as Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Canada.

Health-related products and services in both districts will be highlighted along with the “Thailand Riviera” campaign to attract visitors to southern coastal destinations, Mr Thanakorn said.

Efforts are being made to ensure tourists receive international-standard services, he said.

Cesa also instructed TAT to consider expanding wellness advertising to other regions, Mr Thanakorn said.

Krod Rojanastien, President of the Thai Spa Association and head of the Hua Hin Recharge program, welcomed the wellness sandbox project.

He said a notable trend has emerged among tourists around the world placing more emphasis on health and wellness, and that Hua Hin and Cha-am are among the wellness destinations that fit the bill.

“To build such a destination, we must consider components such as decent living standards and conditions, the environment, and tradition and culture.”

He added: “These are supply-side components and we need to assess whether they are suitable or not, and if so, we can then promote the districts as two of the newest wellness destinations in the world that offer quality tourism.” wellness experience.”

Regarding Hua Hin’s readiness to become a wellness destination, he said that Hua Hin is already more than adequately equipped to cater to health-conscious tourists.

“We also have brands with strong health and wellness reputations, such as Chiva-Som International Health Resort.

“In fact, much of Hua Hin is famous in this regard. Therefore, we have discussed a plan with the local authorities to transform Hua Hin into a ‘City of Health’.”

‘And don’t forget,’ said Mr Krod, ‘that there are many older tourists in Hua Hin and also older foreigners who settle down here. So this [Wellness Sandbox scheme] will also address the needs of an aging society. In the post-Covid-19 era, people around the world will be looking for special places like this,” he said.

Operators have also welcomed the government’s decision to resume the “Test & Go” program for international visitors.

Trat Tourism Council President Saksit Mungkarn on Friday also welcomed the decision by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to add more locations, including Trat’s Koh Chang district, to the state’s tourism sandbox program, which is currently being implemented in Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Krabi and Phangnga.

He said the sandbox program will be a great boon for operators on Koh Chang as many premises and hotels have received the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certificates.

On Thursday, the CCSA announced the Test & Go program will resume on February 1, with stricter requirements including an RT-PCR test on the fifth day after entering Thailand.

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