Phuket Sandbox shines the way for Thai tourism revival

PHUKET – The Phuket Sandbox – Thailand’s pilot run for reopening the country’s crucial tourism sector that accounted for about 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) before Covid-19 – has so far been disappointing in terms of numbers but is being hailed as a success in other respects.

The Phuket Sandbox – a pun on Fintech terminology for a safe haven for experimenting with new technologies – was launched on July 1 with a target of attracting at least 100,000 foreign tourists in its first three months.  

Actual arrivals were an underwhelming 42,000, generating about 3 billion baht (US$90.8 million) in tourist spending. That’s obviously a far cry from the 14.5 million foreign and domestic tourists who visited the island resort in all of 2019, generating 442 billion baht ($13.4 billion) in revenue. 

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