The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced yesterday the launch today of the Samui Plus program, under which Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao can be visited by fully vaccinated international tourists with no quarantine requirements, between July and December 2021.
H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said “The reopening of Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao to tourism is another significant step toward achieving the Thai Prime Minister’s recently announced policy of reopening the whole country within 120 days, or by the end of October. Phuket is already open as the pilot destination, and other destinations will follow in the scheduled order with carefully planned disease control and public health measures, travel procedures, and the right tourism marketing all being addressed.”
Tourists visiting under the Samui Plus program can choose to stay in “Samui Extra Plus” and “SHA Plus” hotels for the first seven nights and the remaining seven nights, respectively. Both labels are officially approved in terms of hygiene and safety. The Samui Extra Plus hotels are formerly ALQ hotels (now referred to as AQ hotels) and have been specially assigned for Samui Plus. SHA Plus-certified hotels mean they meet the necessary measures to control COVID-19, and also that 70% of their workforce has been fully vaccinated.
Mr. Vijvut Tjinto, Governor of Surat Thani Province, said “Surat Thani’s tourism sector together with the provincial authorities are committed to seeing that Samui Plus visitors enjoy a memorable holiday. This can be seen in the dedicated efforts made by all parties involved leading up to the destination’s reopening; such as the arranging of preventive measures against COVID-19 and the vaccination program for the local Samui people.”
“When it comes to public health measures, everything from the quarantine system and testing and isolation of any positive cases to the accessibility of hospitals and medical personnel is at a state of readiness,” added Dr. Manu Sukolsakul, Surat Thani Provincial Public Health Doctor.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said “With the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programs now both in effect, more of the legendary tourism appeal that has made Thailand such a beloved destination for travelers the world over can again be enjoyed. The gorgeous islands of Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao are among the best beach resorts in Asia, and it is fantastic to see these welcoming tourists again.”
For the launch today of Samui Plus, there were nine international arrivals from Hong Kong, France, Germany, Singapore, and the UK. All are members of the media by the invitation of the TAT, as part of the plan to create awareness of the program through first-hand experience by members of the media, celebrities, and influencers from around the world.
TAT expects some 1,000 foreign tourists to arrive under the Samui Plus scheme during
the first month, from 15 July to 15 August.
Mr. Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, President of Tourism Association of Ko Samui, said “On behalf of the people in Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao, we’re ready to welcome both Thai and international tourists back to these three beautiful islands again. Please come and enjoy your quality time among all this wonderful scenery, experience some exciting activities, enjoy a lot of tasty dishes, as well as our warm hospitality. We hope the Samui Plus model will bring vitalization and a lively ambiance to Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao again.”
Phuket and Surat Thani’s Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao are the first of Thailand’s destinations to reopen tourism.
The next destinations to reopen – on 1 September 2021, – will be Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, and Railay Beach), Phang Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao), Chiang Mai (Mueang District and Mae
Rim, Mae Taeng, and Doi Tao Districts), Chon Buri (Pattaya, Bang Lamung, and Sattahip), and Buri Ram (Mueang District and Chang Arena).
The scheduled date for the reopening of Bangkok, Phetchaburi (Cha-am), and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) is 1 October 2021, with the rest of Thailand due to reopen throughout the month of October.
More information such as entry requirements, on arrival procedures, safety and hygiene measures, and FAQs can be found here.