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Thailand is banking on two sun-soaked destinations to help it rebuild its tourism trade, with fully vaccinated international tourists now able to visit Phuket and Ko Samui, both of which have taken measures to protect guests and locals alike from contracting coronavirus while hosting vacationers.
A recent Tourism Authority of Thailand webinar promoting Ko Samui reported that besides being vaccinated tourists must have Covid insurance and Phuket-bound travellers must travel directly to that locale with an international carrier, while tourists heading for Ko Samui first have to travel to Bangkok, and then continue their journey from the Thai capital to Ko Samui with Bangkok Airways.
Visitors and locals alike must wear masks while outdoors.
Viktor Spysak of the tourism authority’s Toronto office praised Ko Samui for its many white-sand beaches but added visitors can also find nightlife, shopping and dining.
Spysak added that Ko Samui also provides access to Angthong National Marine Park, which is home to 42 islands and covers over 100 kms.
Also near Ko Samui is Ko Phangan, best known for its lively and sometimes raucous Full Moon and other parties but which Spysak said has many undeveloped areas.
“It’s not as developed as Ko Samui but it’s really charming,” he said of Ko Phangan, adding hilly terrain makes it great for trekking.
Paul Tomasch of Red Elephant Reps, which represents hotels and other tourism-related businesses in Thailand, praised the Asian nation for its ability to accommodate health-conscious tourists.
“We love people to come experience wellness in Thailand, which is probably the best place to do that,” he said.
Among Ko Samui hotels singled out by Tomasch was Kamalaya, which he labelled “strictly a health and wellness resort.” The 76-room property offers the likes of nutritional guidance, traditional Chinese medicine and massages.
Another Ko Samui property praised by Tomasch was Rocky’s Boutique Resort, which has individually designed rooms and demonstrates its commitment to community service with the likes of donating food to a dog rescue program.
Tomasch said that almost all Ko Samui activities take place outdoors, mitigating the risk of contracting coronavirus, with Spysak in turn labelling the island “really safe… Once you get there you will be rewarded.”
Daniel Gregori of Destination Asia, which has tour programs in different Asian nations including Thailand, noted his company has a 10-day “island-hopping” tour that includes Ko Samui and Ko Phangan, which he said has many secluded beaches and 60% of which is covered with jungle.
Those visiting Angthong can hike to a viewpoint showcasing blue sky and aquamarine ocean, creating a “view you will never forget,” he continued.
Gregori added that sun-seekers will be in their element in Thailand. “No matter when you come, you’ll always find sunshine somewhere.”
July’s reopening of Ko Samui and Phuket to international travellers is part of a Thai government program that will see the Asian nation reopen to visitors in stages. More areas are slated to open this year.
Photos courtesy: Tourism Authority of Thailand Canada
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