Thousands of tourists have departed Phuket by land since the Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension programme took effect on Aug 17, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesman for Centre for Economic Situation Administration, said on Monday.
Under the programme, the mandatory stay in Phuket for fully vaccinated international travellers is reduced from 14 to seven days.
They can spend the other seven days in any of the extension areas in Krabi (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Ngai or Railay), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak or Koh Yao), or Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan or Koh Tao).
Mr Thanakorn said so far 3,578 tourists had left Phuket by land for the extension areas. After seven days there, they could proceed to other provinces.
The favourite destinations were Bangkok, Surat Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri. These destinations had complied with the pandemic controls required by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, he said.
Mr Thanakorn said a total of 22,810 tourists had arrived under the Phuket Sandbox scheme. Room bookings had been made for 409,390 nights at SHA (safety and health administration) Plus hotels throughout July-September.
Daily flights continued to bring in tourists. The five primary countries of origin were the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, France and Germany.
Almost 400 tourists under the Phuket Sandbox scheme had arrived in Koh Samui, Surat Thani, booking nearly 3,000 room nights or an average of nine nights per head.
Revenue was projected to be around 17.28 million baht. The main countries tourists arrived from under the Samui Plus programme were France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States and the Netherlands.
Mr Thanakorn said the number of tourists to Koh Samui was still low because flights on the Phuket-Samui route had been suspended since Aug 3 by order of the Phuket communicable disease committee.
Since Phuket-Samui flights would resume from Aug 25, it was believed the number of tourists would go up, he said.
Responding to the US advisory for its citizens to avoid travelling to Thailand due to Covid-19, the Tourism Authority of Thailand had stepped up its campaign abroad under the “city marketing” concept, he said.
It singled out Phuket as a safe destination, emphasing that the Thai government had imposed strict measures to control the pandemic, he said.