Plans for Hua Hin to welcome international visitors have now been delayed to November 1 as the seaside city struggles meet reopening criteria. The Hua Hin Recharge program will eventually allow tourists to travel without needing to quarantine as long as they produce a negative COVID-19 test result after arriving.
The plan has support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) who are working with local officials on logistics. It was suppose to take affect on October 1, but was first delayed to October 15 and now November 1 due to the continued presence of COVID-19 and low vaccination rates.
Two options are being made available for tourists wanting to visit. The first is they can fly into Hua Hin airport. A second option will see them arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and then travel directly to Hua Hin via car under the Cha-am Sunshine Program.
There is less certainty about the former option with Thai AirAsia having paused flights into the facility last year. A report in the Bangkok Post stated an aviation advisory company was working on securing more international flights to Hua Hin airport although talks remain ongoing.
It was also announced that the Hua Hin Recharge program is eligible to receive travelers who are participating in the Phuket Sandbox under the 7+7 extension scheme. That would mean any tourist who spends seven days in Phuket could then travel to Hua Hin.
In order to better facilitate the arrangement, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn is hoping to start up flight service between Phuket and Hua Hin. He cited the fact that flights between Phuket and Koh Samui have shown this is realistic.
It was noted that Hua Hin Recharge program won’t see the Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi provinces fully reopen. Initially, only Hua Hin would be reopened to overseas arrivals, but this could be expanded as soon as the rest of the region hits the vaccination threshold of 70 percent.
Thai Spa Association President and Hua Hin Recharge Project Head Krod Rojanastien is optimistic about the impact the program will have on the region. It’s estimated that hotel occupancy rate could reach as high as 60 percent during the fourth quarter.