Alongside its Southeast Asian neighbors, Thailand is emerging from the Covid Crisis as one of the most successful countries in the world with regards to containing and eliminating the virus. The Kingdom has not recorded a single internal case of C-19 in almost two months – since May 25, in fact. Only a handful of carriers have been detected at the airport – and dutifully quarantined – as the country tentatively began allowing repatriations as of July 1st; however the overall situation would appear to signal that Thailand is nearing the date when it can start welcoming foreign travelers once again.
And this is all good news for the country’s massive tourism industry, though we know that it will take years, analysts say, before the country can boast the heady peaks of 40 million tourists per annum again. In all likelihood, the Thai government will open up first and foremost to other Asian countries – under bilateral agreements commonly known as “travel bubbles” – most notably China, which is Thailand’s greatest source of tourism revenue by far. Early indications are that visitors will be either directed or encouraged to limit their stays to the main resorts of Phuket, Koh Samui and other tropical paradises, far from the main population centers of Bangkok and Pattaya.
In anticipation of a reopening, many hotels and tourist sites are working hand in hand with authorities to create confidence in the market by tackling initiatives emphasizing health and safety, tracking, and monitoring. Bars, restaurants, Buddhist temples, and national parks have all reopened, but you can expect to be asked to wear a mask, get a temperature check, use hand sanitizer, and sign in at each place you go. The Thai authorities are quietly confident that they can maximize guest comfort while minimizing risk as the country looks on track to being held up as a model for others to follow.
Banyan Tree Samui Leads by Example
Banyan Tree Samui, a luxury 88-villa resort commanding spectacular vistas of an idyllic beach cove, has been awarded the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certificate by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in recognition of the hotel’s upgraded health and hygiene standards and commitment to guest safety. LuxeGetaways is working daily to keep up with the new efforts and brand standards by hotel brands around the world, and we know that these extreme efforts by Banyan Tree Samui are great examples of what all hotels need to be doing for the safety of guests and staff.
SHA certification was introduced by TAT in May to encourage not only hotels and resorts, but all tourism-related enterprises, including restaurants, spas, department stores and major attractions, to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 as Thailand looks to reopen to international travelers in the near future. After meeting all required hygiene and quality controls following a rigorous inspection, approved businesses may display the SHA logo for two years to reassure visitors.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of this SHA initiative,” said Banyan Tree Samui General Manager Remko Kroesen. “Our hygiene manager and her team have worked relentlessly since the outbreak of the virus to ensure that the resort meets every guest’s highest expectations.”
Among Banyan Tree Samui’s latest innovations is a “Safe Sanctuary” policy, which promises guests a “contactless journey” from check-in to check-out. This also includes enhanced cleanliness protocols and appropriate distancing at all on-site facilities such as restaurants, the spa and fitness center.
Each guest is also presented with a Portier smartphone by their personal “Villa Host” upon arrival at the hotel. They can use this phone throughout their stay to make any requests, such as ordering in-villa F&B services, arranging tours, and coordinating housekeeping service. The phone is user-friendly, and it delivers all of its features in English, Russian, Chinese, German or French.
TAT said that the Amazing Thailand SHA certification is a unique certification scheme aimed at preparing the Thai tourism industry for the recovery period post-COVID-19 pandemic and enhancing confidence amongst international and domestic tourists. Among the recent recipients of the SHA certificate is the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the kingdom’s most iconic attraction, which routinely takes in some 8 million visitors per year.
Congratulations to these efforts and accomplishments by Banyan Tree Samui, and we wish continued success to the hotels, resorts and entire tourism industry in Thailand.