Phuket Tiger Park hopes to come back to life when foreign tourists return to tourists



Tigers gather by a pool in their enclosure in the Tiger Kingdom on Monday, while Phuket will open its doors to foreign tourists from July 1 so that fully vaccinated foreigners can visit the vacation island without quarantine. (Reuters photo)

PHUKET: A tiger park in Phuket is preparing to welcome overseas visitors again this week as companies on the vacation island hope to benefit from a pilot program allowing fully vaccinated tourists to enter the province.

According to the plan, foreign tourists vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to bypass quarantine regulations and move freely around the island. After 14 days, if there are no coronavirus problems, they can travel to another location in Thailand. Tiger Kingdom’s general manager said the park was taking precautions before reopening Thursday to ensure foreign visitors were comfortable.

“We have vaccinated more than 90% of our employees and also trained them on the ‘new normal’ tourism,” said Chadarat Taodaeng. The park offers up-close encounters with big cats and is home to more than 50 tigers and a cheetah. Since the pandemic, the number of visitors has slumped from just under 1,000 to less than 20 per day.

Thailand lost around $ 50 billion in tourism revenue last year as overseas arrivals fell 83% to 6.7 million, from a record 39.9 million in 2019. Phuket was particularly hard hit by job losses and business closings.

“I’m delighted that people are finally going to visit the tigers and that Phuket City will be back to business again,” said Phonphawit Ton-od, deputy manager of the park, adding that the reopening “will affect both the tigers’ minds and the Employees would help ”. Health.”

The popularity of such parks has increased despite criticism from conservationists and safety concerns after some incidents of mistreatment. Returning visitors has been a priority for the government, even though authorities have tried to contain a persistent wave of coronavirus infections in recent months.

Officials hope that Phuket’s pilot program will attract 129,000 overseas visitors in the third quarter of 2021, a number that in 2019 is still well below the average 3.3 million monthly arrivals. “I’m happy about the reopening of the park because our cheetah Gregor loves to be with tourists and employees,” said goalkeeper Abdulrahim A-waekechi.


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