PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN — Tourism officials remain adamant that the reopening plan for the resort town of Hua Hin will go ahead as scheduled on Oct. 1, but a local trade representative on Tuesday urged a delay.
Hua Hin, which is located in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, currently has the highest rate of infection in the province and many business operators are not yet ready to reopen their doors, said chamber of commerce honorary chairman Nipon Suwannawa.
“Hua Hin is still not 100% ready,” Nipon said. “There’s a lack of participation from the public. A lot of hoteliers and restaurant owners still have to adapt their standards. They’d need a big investment to prepare for tourists.”
Under a proposal submitted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, travelers will be able to visit Hua Hin by travelling non-stop in a vehicle from Suvarnabhumi airport or via a transit flight to Hua Hin airport, starting Oct. 1.
The program, called Hua Hin Recharge, will also allow tourists to travel without quarantine once they receive a negative test result upon arrival. Travelers who already spent the first seven days of their trip in the Phuket Sandbox are eligible for the Hua Hin program.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn told reporters earlier this week that flights from Phuket to Hua Hin are possible. Thai AirAsia operated flights to Hua Hin Airport prior to the pandemic.
Minister of tourism and sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the government will procure more vaccines for Hua Hin residents in order to facilitate the reopening.
The Hua Hin Recharge program is set to cover Hua Hin municipality and Nong Kae district. As of Tuesday, about 75 percent of residents in that area are reported to have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The number of those fully vaccinated stood at only 25 percent.