JUST over two months since the launch of the tourism recovery scheme SAMUI+ [Plus] – one of the first in Asia – the Thai island of Samui is now open for business under the newly launched Samui Plus Sandbox programme.
More relaxed entry regulations mean that fully vaccinated travellers from an approved list of countries can now book a holiday to the island without doing quarantine, rather than the seven days still required for Bangkok.
The developments follow a similar Sandbox scheme for Phuket and have been welcomed by the local chapter of SKAL, the global tourism and hospitality association.
Visitors arriving under the SAMUI Plus Sandbox scheme can choose to stay in an SHA+ category hotel (also referred to an AQ hotel) for the first seven nights which is officially approved in terms of hygiene and safety.
Travellers in the programme must purchase their air tickets from their departure destination right through to Samui. On arrival in Bangkok, they are transferred to the Bangkok Airways direct Samui flight via the ‘sealed route’ special transit facility.
During their first seven days in Samui, visitors are free to use the facilities of their SHA+ resort before being free to travel around Samui and its neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao provided RT-PCR Covid-19 tests on Day 1 and Day 6 are negative.
James McManaman, president of SKAL Koh Samui. said: “The SAMUI+ and the Phuket Sandbox tourism recovery schemes are a credit to the Thai government and its main tourism body TAT [Tourism Authority of Thailand].
“The schemes are the first of their kind in the Asia region and a blueprint for other countries whose tourism has also been devastated by the pandemic. We at SKAL fully support these initiatives through our 90-plus member hotels and tourism partners and our #ReDiscoverSamui tourism campaign.”