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Thai PM marks new tourism era by symbolically removing face mask at Phuket event

The Thai PM has launched a new tourism era for the country by symbolically ripping off his face mask at an event in Phuket. “Are you ready?” Prayut Chan-o-cha asked attendees at the Thailand Tourism Congress 2022, as he removed his mask. The gesture was greeted by loud applause.

The PM was speaking at the event, which is being held at the Beyond Resort Kata Hotel in the south of the island. He used his speech to praise the Phuket Tourist Association for the latest report on the island’s tourism situation. Phuket has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but things have slowly started to improve since the easing of some entry restrictions, in particular the cancellation of Test & Go.

At the TTC event, the PM also revealed the government’s plan for the sustainable development of tourism, under a strategy known as SMILE. The acronym stands for Sustainability, Manpower, Inclusive economy, Localisation, and Ecosystems, according to a Nation Thailand report.

The PM also praised the overall tourism sector, which has suffered heavily throughout the pandemic as a result of Thailand’s strict travel restrictions, including a total closure of the country’s borders in the early stages.

The TTC kicked off in Phuket on Monday and will finish today.

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