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Asia Minute: Coronavirus and a Tale of Two Beaches

AP Photo/Penny Wang
In this March 26, 2020, photo, tourists swim on a beach, Phuket, Thailand.

The hospitality business is still on hold in Hawaii at least through the end of September, and possibly longer. Elsewhere in the Pacific, some popular tourist locations are taking different approaches when it comes to re-opening.

You could call it a tale of two beaches. A pair of the most popular oceanside tourist resorts in Asia are following different strategies in the next steps of fighting the spread of COVID-19 while trying to help local economies.

In Thailand, the island of Phuket is trying the “resort bubble” idea that’s under also consideration by the mayors of some neighbor islands. Under a pilot program scheduled to start October 1, tourists can fly into Phuket and quarantine in a resort for fourteen days.   

Visitors also will need to take a COVID-19 test before the quarantine, and if they want to go anywhere else, they will need to take another test and stay in quarantine for another week.

On the Indonesian island of Bali, the plan was to start to welcome international visitors in a little more than two weeks. But that plan has changed now.

The governor says there will be no foreign visitors at least through the end of this year—adding that the preparations to welcome tourists require “care” and “prudence” and are “not to be rushed.” The governor set no precise target date for a return of international tourists.

Both Bali and Phuket have been open to domestic travelers since July, but both locations are economically dependent on international travel.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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