Health officials on Phuket have resumed stalled vaccinations as marketing gears up to promote the island’s the reopening as a quarantine-free, global destination for vaccinated travelers.
Local health officials said they have acquired another 200,000 Sinovac doses this past weekend and plan to resume stepped-up distribution via mass inoculation centers to reach their goal of vaccinating the entire population. Vaccinations ground to a standstill earlier this month, with only about 100,000 residents, or 22% of the population, completing both Sinovac jabs as of Tuesday, a number unchanged from earlier this month.
That leaves six weeks to vaccinate the other 300,000-plus residents, or roughly 7,500 per day. Achieving what is generally considered herd immunity of 70% would mean reaching another 210,000-or-so people, or just about 5,000 daily now through July 1.
Plans are riding on the successful production and distribution of Thailand’s own supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to begin next month.
About 50 island hotels are ready to welcome those who have been fully inoculated starting July 1, tourism authority Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn said today. While questions remain over how travelers will prove they have been inoculated, Thai travelers will only need to show fresh test results in the negative.
No new cases were reported on the island yesterday, one of the required goalposts for the program to go forward.
Work on promotional campaigns has already begun. Yuthasak said they have been bringing in hundreds of people including groups of influencers to show how Phuket has changed for a relaunch of the tried-and-true “Amazing Thailand” campaign. Popular foodtuber Mark Wiens last week said he was on the island to produce ads for the authority.
Before and after #Phuket. Phuket plans to re-open to vaccinated tourists in July, so I’m here to create some content with @AmazingThailand for the opening. Mandatory COVID test at the border, might be the most responsible place to visit in #Thailand. pic.twitter.com/L9vvqldZT2
— Mark Wiens (@migrationology) May 12, 2021
They will also invite foreign media to promote the island in hope it sparks a fourth-quarter boom exceeding the 129,000 arrivals they hope to greet by September. Success on the island, where livelihoods cratered with the travel freeze, will boost plans to extend the same model to places such as Chiang Mai, Krabi and Buriram
Perhaps less nobly, part of the information campaign will involve separating the travel destinations from the rest of the country in the COVID-19 task force’s daily briefings, as Yuthasak said all the information might “scare” travelers.
The program will allow visitors to stay at the hotel of their choice without needing to quarantine. The only trade-off is they have to stay on the island for seven days before they can travel onward to other parts of Thailand.