Top News Sandbox scheme nets Phuket US$24.8m in revenue within first month By TTG Asia / Posted on 6 August, 2021 14:09 In the first month of the Phuket Sandbox programme which launched on July 1, more than 14,000 foreign tourists visited Phuket, generating 829 million baht (US$24.8 million) in revenue for the local economy. From July 1-31, Phuket welcomed a total of 14,055 international arrivals, with the largest source market being the US with 1,802 arrivals, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Phuket Sandbox welcomes more than 14,000 arrivals in first month; people visiting Nai Harn Beach under the Phuket Sandbox scheme in July 2021 pictured This was followed by the UK with 1,558 arrivals, Israel with 1,455 arrivals, Germany with 847 arrivals, and France with 839 arrivals. TAT expects 100,000 foreign tourists will visit Phuket in 3Q2021 (July-September) and inject some 8.9 billion baht in revenue into the local economy. The Phuket Sandbox programme allows fully vaccinated international travellers to enter Phuket without the need to quarantine, as part of Thailand’s plans to gradually reopen to tourism in a bid to revive the pandemic-hit economy. These first tourists to return to Thailand came on direct international flights operated by major airlines from points around the world. This included Thai Airways International from Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Paris, London, and Zurich; Singapore Airlines from Singapore; Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi; Emirates from Dubai; Qatar Airways from Doha; and EL AL Israel Airlines from Tel Aviv. Accommodation-wise, the arrivals for July saw 190,843 room nights booked at SHA Plus certified hotels. August has a further 109,694 room nights in advance bookings and September another 9,182 room nights, altogether amounting to 309,719 room nights for the July-September period. Tourists are required to stay at SHA Plus certified hotels on Phuket for their added safety. SHA Plus certification indicates a hotel meets the safety measures to control Covid-19, and also that 70 per cent of its workforce has been fully vaccinated. The 829 million baht in revenue for July included 282 million baht spent on accommodation, 194 million baht on the purchase of products and services, 175 million baht on food and beverage, and 124 million baht on health and medical services. Among the 14,055 tourist arrivals, the average cost of their vacation to Phuket was 58,982 baht. Crucially, one of the key benefits of the Phuket Sandbox programme has been the creation of 210 million baht in salaries for the local employees in the accommodation, restaurant, and other sectors.