Thailand, and specifically Phuket, is central to tourism discussions in South East Asia right now. To check the inbound reopening pulse, Gary and Hannah chat with David Luekens, Bangkok-based travel journalist and creator of the Thai Island Times newsletter. The discussion looks back on the various proposals by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai government to reboot tourism over the past year, and the reasons for the failure of the Special Tourist Visa. David also discusses the stop-start nature of domestic travel over recent months, and the impact of the recent COVID-19 outbreaks. With Thailand expected to confirm the Phuket Sandbox reopening programme soon, we assess the challenges and opportunities both for Phuket, and Thai tourism more broadly. We also look at the strategies of destinations such as Koh Samui and Chiang Mai, and David updates us on the progress of Thailand’s vaccine rollout out a it starts to gain momentum
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