Phuket braces for holiday surge

Phuket braces for holiday surge

Tourists on Mai Khao beach pose for a picture as a jet comes in to land at Phuket International Airport. The beach is a popular destination for tourists looking to snap selfies as the planes approach directly overhead. (Photo by Sarot Meksophawannakul)
Tourists on Mai Khao beach pose for a picture as a jet comes in to land at Phuket International Airport. The beach is a popular destination for tourists looking to snap selfies as the planes approach directly overhead. (Photo by Sarot Meksophawannakul)

Phuket is gearing up for a surge in tourist arrivals over the New Year holiday.

Thanee Chuangchoo, general manager of Phuket International Airport, said airlines are being urged to register their New Year flight schedules with the Civil Aviation Authority in advance to avoid a repetition of flight overlaps that occurred last year.

Phuket governor Phakaphong Tavipatana said the influx of tourists over the holiday period would boost the island's economy but also pose problems. Last year, 14 million tourists visited Phuket, spending a total of about 400 billion baht. "Safety measures will be stepped up during the New Year countdown event. This year we are expecting a massive amount of tourists," Phuket governor Phakaphong Tavipatana told Surasak Pancharoenworakul, MP and chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, during his visit to the southern province early this week.

Those safety measures include deployment of drones and security cameras to monitor tourist sites such as beaches and walking streets, said Prapan Kanpraseang, chief of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Phuket. He said the province will next year request an additional 100-million-baht budget to purchase a 30-million-baht fire-fighting boat, a 12-million-baht ambulance boat and 60 million baht to build a marine rescue centre.


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