Phuket remains a popular travel destination among international arrivals as over 4,000 applicants are submitting forms to enter the resort island via the Thailand Pass system each day, the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) said on Tuesday.
PTA president Bhummikitti Ruktaengam said most applicants are from Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom, the United States and France. On Tuesday, the association logged 4,288 requests. The number of applicants implies the countermeasures against Covid-19 are both working and inspiring confidence in tourists, he said.
Of the international travellers who test positive for the novel coronavirus after arriving here, about 70%-80% are infected with the Omicron variant, he said, adding 90% of cases only showed mild symptoms.
The patients can stay at their hotels if they can remain isolated in their rooms, Mr Bhummikitti noted. The hotels must also have received the Safety and Health Administration Plus certificate from the Public Health Ministry.
If hotels have not prepared rooms to isolate infected tourists, the hotel managers will coordinate with authorities to find suitable facilities such as hospitels (hotel-cum-hospitals) and newly set up Traveller Community Isolation (TCI) wards, he said.
Currently, 126 out of 480 hotels have registered for the scheme of hotel room isolation, meaning they have allocated some of their rooms to isolate infected travellers who show mild symptoms. The total number of rooms under this scheme in Phuket now stands at 650, Mr Bhummikitti said.
The PTA expects the number of accredited hotels to double to 250 soon, he added. In addition, Bangkok Hospital Siriroj in Phuket will join hands with a local hotel to add another 100 hospitel rooms, he noted. Phuket will launch three TCI centres today. The centres will be an option for infected travellers who cannot find hotels with specially isolated rooms or wait for health insurance approval to stay.
As of Monday, Phuket logged 468 new domestic Covid-19 cases, 184 cases from the Phuket Sandbox and 74 from the Test&Go scheme.
No new deaths were recorded.