Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao reopen today with the launch of ‘Samui Plus’ programme
These 3 beautiful islands in Surat Thani province are once again welcoming international tourists.
(Samui, 15 July, 2021) The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the launch today of the Samui Plus programme, under which Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao can be visited by fully vaccinated international tourists with no quarantine requirements.
The Samui Plus programme is for travel between July and December 2021, to these three islands located in Surat Thani province. General information on the Samui Plus programme; such as, entry requirements, on arrival procedures, safety and hygiene measures, and FAQs can be found here.
H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, (pictured right) 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 programme can choose to stay in ‘Samui Extra Plus’ and ‘SHA Plus’ hotels for the first 7 nights and the remaining 7 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 the Samui Plus programme. 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, (pictured lower left) 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 programme for the local Samui people.”
Dr. Manu Sukolsakul, Surat Thani Provincial Public Health Doctor, said “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.” Samui Plus tourists visiting Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao can rest assured their health and well-being is considered of utmost importance during their time in Thailand.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, (pictured lower right) TAT Governor, said “With the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programmes now both in effect, more of the legendary tourism appeal that has made Thailand such a beloved destination for travellers 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 the Samui Plus programme, there were nine international arrivals from Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Germany, and the UK. All are members of the media (including Floyd Cowan, Editor and Chief of Asian Journeys in Singapore) by the invitation of TAT, as part of the plan to create awareness of the Samui Plus programme through first-hand experience by members of the media, celebrities and influencers from around the world.
Mr Floyd Cowan stated that he felt it was important to participate in this trip to contribute to the opening of leisure travel. “This is a first step for getting the travel industry going again and while some are concerned about travelling during the pandemic I felt I needed to help Thailand with its tourist recovery efforts. I have felt safe and well-cared for on every step of my journey from Singapore to the Lamai Samui resort. Even before I left, TAT Singapore was very helpful in ensuring everything went as smooth as possible.”
TAT expects some 1,000 foreign tourists to arrive under the Samui Plus programme 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 vitalisation and a lively ambience 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 to 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.
Photos: Press launch of the Samui Plus programme at The Seen Beach Club, Ko Samui, Surat Thani, on 15 July, 2021.
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