Prominent Phuket tourism business figures urge Thai government reconsideration of local Covid-19 vaccine distribution as part of their tourism recovery plan

PHOTO: Thairath

Phuket –

Phuket private tourism-related sectors yesterday, February 10th, submitted a letter to the Prime Minister and the Office of the Ombudsman to put an issue of direct purchase and local distribution of Covid-19 vaccination into reconsideration as they were crucially a part of their “Phuket First October” island-reopening scheme.

The letter was submitted to government representatives by leading tourism industries, including the Southern Thai Hotels Association, Phuket Real Estate Association, Phuket Chamber of Commerce, and the Phuket Tourist Association, who were planning to contribute funds for purchasing Covid-19 vaccines for 70 percent of the island’s population prior to the island reopening in October, according to their initial tourism plan.

PHOTO: Manager Online

This follows the public health ministry’s statement last Tuesday that no private and public local authorities are allowed to buy Covid-19 vaccinations at this time since the first lot of Covid-19 vaccines must be under Thai government procurement only.

Thanusak Pungdet, President of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, told reporters the private industries would like to ask the related authorities to revise the decision and to allow the private and local sectors in Phuket to directly purchase the FDA-approved vaccination from the vaccine manufacturer.

“The local vaccine distribution will potentially revive tourism industry by the end of 2021, according to the Phuket First October tourism strategy. It will also help boost Phuket’s economy as well,” the president added.

PHOTO: Manager Online

Thanusak Pungdet, President of the Thailand Hotels Association Southern Chapter, stated that, according to the Phuket First October initial plan, Phuket will be welcoming vaccinated foreign tourists, particularly from European countries, without performing 14-day state quarantine.

The vaccines will also be distributed to locals above 18 years old, according to the plan, especially hospitality employees, to ensure the province is Covid-19 free before the reopening by October 1st, 2021.

Thanusak added: “The government’s decision on the prohibition of the local vaccination purchase has crucially affected our plan to resolve the island’s economic crisis. It was our last hope in order to help Phuket and its people financially and socially.”

“We urged the government to understand, accept our request, and change their mind. The Phuket First October strategy could also potentially be a model that could be adapted in other tourism provinces as well.”

Pattaya was also planning to replicate this strategy to save their tourism industry.

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