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Mass jabs eyed in Hua Hin ahead of tourism return

Vaccinated travellers may get quarantine waivers

A project has been proposed to achieve mass vaccination in Hua Hin ahead of Prachuap Khiri Khan's non-quarantine reopening to foreign tourists in October.

A National Tourism Policy Committee meeting decided that major tourism provinces such as Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Buri Ram and Bangkok should pilot tourism reopening plans from Oct 1 to overseas visitors who hold valid Covid-19 vaccination papers, said Krod Rojanastien, a Board of Trade of Thailand (BTT) executive and president of the Thai Spa Association.

He said those with vaccination papers should be able to forgo mandatory quarantine. The reopening of tourism would lend a tremendous boost to local businesses which have been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year.

Mr Krod said he had proposed what he called the "Hua Hin Recharge project" and was hoping for cooperation from the state sector, public health establishments and the tourism and services businesses.

The plan was to organise mass inoculation in Hua Hin and educate people across all sectors about the benefits of the vaccination and the resulting herd immunity.

Mr Krod said he would ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to approve an emergency allocation of vaccine for people in Hua Hin municipality and if granted, it could be launched as early as June 1.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said Prachuap Khiri Khan was a key tourism destination for local and foreign visitors.

The plan was to get at least 70% of people including tourism workers in the destination provinces vaccinated before Oct 1, she said. Related agencies had devised a blueprint for effective and timely distribution of the vaccine to the provinces, she said.

Ms Traisuree said it is agreed that tourism workers are among the front-line personnel exposed to the virus and they need to be inoculated fast so the country can revive its tourism economy sooner rather than later.

The vaccination will also build up confidence for local and foreign tourists. The vaccine allocation requests will be submitted to the CCSA for consideration this month, the deputy spokeswoman added.

Meanwhile, Wassana Srikanjana, president of the Hua Hin-Cha Am Tourism Association, said Hua Hin district was well-equipped to deliver the jabs with availability at several hospitals and medical facilities.

Ms Wassana said if non-quarantine tourism reopening went as planned, the district could welcome at least 100,000 foreign visitors in the last quarter of the year.


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