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I tested for you the “PhuketSandBox” in Thailand

Phuket, an exceptional destination for discerning travellers!

As we were able to observe at our destination during this very beautiful journey organized by Prakit Saiporn and the TAT, Phuket has succeeded in being a real health bubble where serenity, hospitality, authenticity and zenitude are essential… before the great return of domestic, regional and international tourism!

In this phase of reopening, this iconic island, the first seaside destination in Southeast Asia before Covid, offers vaccinated travelers (especially from Western markets) and for the first time in its history, all the assets that have made it famous. (beaches and sumptuous natural sites, varied and very high quality gastronomy, Buddhist culture, sense of Asian hospitality, price accessibility thanks to the very wide variety of its hotel offer, international airport…) with its thousands of tourists in less !

Admittedly, aficionados of the frenetic nightlife on Patong, the alleys of street food, stalls and lively restaurants along the beaches of Karon, Bang Tao or Kemala, will be left out.

But for all the others, eager for long walks on the beaches of the west coast at sunset, tranquility by the swimming pool, in the beach clubs or the splendid spas of the island’s resorts, authentic encounters with shopkeepers and craftsmen of Phuket Town, nature hikes in the heart of the tropical jungle of Kao Pra Thao National Park, cabotage and absolute zenitude on Phang Nga Bay, it’s a real paradise!

However, all this happiness must be earned… and will be short-lived!

In this transitional phase, marked by a very strong political will on the part of the Thai authorities to perpetuate the Sandbox program and to make it a model of a health bubble, which can be duplicated for the other islands and major tourist sites in the country (as demonstrated by their decision since August 16 to extend this system to the other islands in southern Thailand), we as professionals have a crucial role to play.

Faced with travelers frustrated by long months of sedentary life, aware of health constraints, but first of all concerned to project themselves towards warm and distant horizons for this autumn and winter, we must more than ever value our know-how.

We must reassure them about the possibilities of long-haul travel, direct them to open and secure destinations, support them in the preparatory formalities for the trip and expand our service offer if necessary.

For Phuket and the islands of southern Thailand, it is up to us professionals, before departure, to collect all the information necessary to prepare the COE (Certificate of Entry) file for our customers (to be done 15 days before departure) and to avoid them waste of time and risk of error.

We select very carefully the hotels, excursions, guides and combinations of their stay, to avoid unpleasant surprises (beware of recently reopened sites or accommodation, whose activity has been nil or weak for many months) and allow them to be ideally located according to the visits and activities chosen (especially since they will have to stay a minimum of 7 nights in the first hotel before extending their stay elsewhere on Phuket or leaving for other islands in the region).

Once there, let’s inform them precisely of the districts, beaches and good addresses on the island for their walks, purchases, massages or restaurants (not all the shops and businesses have reopened).

This support will be all the more essential at the time of the reopening of the tourist regions of the Golden Triangle and the former capitals of Siam, as it is already a question of only certified operators being able to transport foreign travelers visiting these regions.

On the Asia side, as soon as the announcement of the reopening of Phuket, we set up at the end of June a new “Sandbox” service
(85EUR/pers), to manage all the formalities before departure, choose the right sites for the on-site PCR tests (days 6 and 12) and provide all the useful advice to allow agency customers to enjoy the best conditions of a stay in Phuket and southern Thailand.

Many destinations in Southeast Asia are observing the example of Phuket with great interest and could be encouraged to duplicate it, particularly on island sites (Indonesia with Bali and Lombok, Malaysia with Langkawi, Penang, Tioman and Redang, Vietnam with Phu Quoc, the Philippines with Boracay, Cebu and Palawan…), but also neighboring destinations keen to follow in Thailand’s footsteps, such as Cambodia (the Khmer kingdom deserves a trip on its own) .

So let’s take advantage of this transition phase in southern Thailand (until mid-2022 perhaps?) and soon in new Asian destinations, before a more massive reopening to regional and international tourism, to make people happy and allow them to rediscover iconic sites as in the first mornings of the world!

To go further and answer all your questions about Thailand, Asia is organizing an online training on Thursday, September 9 at 2:30 p.m. (with testimony from Guillaume Linton).

Here is the link to register: https://asia-france.webex.com/webappng/sites/asia-france/meeting/info/73c1ddaa8ce04f1f82130ae05ecf5e08?isPopupRegisterView=true

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