The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested that, with the launch of the sandbox program on the holiday island of Phuket on July 1, foreign holidaymakers will be offered free or heavily discounted flights to other destinations.
The Ministry of Tourism has already discussed the plan with Bangkok Airways, the owner and operator of Samui Airport. At a meeting of the Thai Hotels Association earlier this week, Khun Phiphat urged hoteliers to join the program by putting together special packages for tourists who want to stay in Thailand for more than ten days.
In addition to Koh Samui and the nearby islands of Tao and Phangan, other destinations such as Pattaya, which is close to U-Tapao Airport, and Chiang Mai, could also join.
Thailand has set an ambitious goal of attracting 6.4 million foreign tourists to the kingdom in the last quarter of this year when Krabi, Samui, Pattaya, Phang-nga and Chiang Mai join the tourism sandbox program. According to Phiphat, the plan will not be complete until Bangkok is included.