Surat Thani — led by Koh Samui — is looking forward to brighter prospects in the upcoming high season as it prepares to emulate Phuket by scrapping quarantine, and plans to receive domestic travellers from next month.
However, demand from international tourists may not pick up immediately while the whole of Thailand is still overwhelmed by Covid-19, said Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.
Significant changes to the reopening plan were discussed this week after the Samui Plus scheme’s three islands — Samui, Phangan and Koh Tao — experienced lukewarm demand over the past two months when compared to the Phuket Sandbox.
Under the new regulation, which is expected to take effect on Oct 1, inoculated tourists need just one day in any hotel certified with the SHA Plus standard while waiting for their RT-PCR test result.
They can roam the three islands freely without a mandatory sealed route, which is more relaxed than the existing rules which require them to stay at pricey alternative quarantine hotels for three days and then travel only within Koh Samui on arranged tours from day 4-7, following which they can travel to the other two islands from day seven while escorted by tour operators.