Hua Hin Plans October Reopening to Foreign Visitors

Business operators in Thailand’s original beach resort are forging ahead with a plan to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by the end of September.

Early morning on the beach at Hua Hin. (Photo: James Louie)

Despite Thailand’s ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has seen domestic travel restrictions put in place across the kingdom, the seaside resort town of Hua Hin is still on track to welcome vaccinated overseas arrivals on October 1. The move was previously announced by Prachuap Khiri Khan’s provincial governor Prompiriya Kitnuson, although doubts about its timely launch lingered given the spread of the Delta variant.

Named “Hua Hin Recharge,” the reopening project is being spearheaded by local businesses such as health resort Chiva-Som, which has been working with hospitals, local health authorities, and state organizations to speed up vaccinations in the municipality. By September 30, the aim is to have at least 70 percent of the local population vaccinated against Covid-19, along with 100 percent of workers in Hua Hin’s tourism sector.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan office says the rules for international travelers are identical to those of the Phuket Sandbox program. Only fully vaccinated individuals from low- and medium-risk countries will be allowed to visit Hua Hin, and the visitors must stay no less than 14 days before traveling on to other parts of Thailand. During that period, they will be tested twice for Covid-19. The TAT has also announced plans to draw up “sealed routes” for international tourists within Hua Hin, but it is not yet known how they will be kept separate from local travelers or if provincial authorities will take the drastic step of banning domestic visitors, as Phuket has done.

Officials are hopeful that Hua Hin’s reopening will draw about 100,000 overseas visitors and generate 1.2 billion baht (roughly US$36.6 million) in tourism-related revenue by the end of the year. Local authorities also anticipates that 89,000 workers who have been furloughed or laid off will be able to return to their jobs.

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