Phuket eyes B100bn New Year windfall

Phuket eyes B100bn New Year windfall

Tourists enjoy at Kamala beach in Phuket on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)
Tourists enjoy at Kamala beach in Phuket on Tuesday. (Reuters photo)

Phuket expects to earn more than 100 billion baht in revenue from tourism during the New Year period.

Bhumikitti Ruktaengam, advisory chairman of the Phuket Tourist Association, said on Thursday the situation is rebounding quickly in the resort island during the New Year period as hotel room reservation rates on Kata, Karon, Patong, and Nai Harn beaches are averaging 70%.

The surge in tourist numbers suggests the industry is experiencing a V-shape recovery, he said, adding he hopes flight tickets will be set at affordable price.

Mr Bhumikitti said Phuket normally accounts for 35% of the country's tourism revenue.

With the full-scale reopening of the island and more direct flights, this could climb to 38% in 2022 based on industry revenue of 180 billion baht, Mr Bhumikitti said.

Meanwhile, Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, president of the Phuket Tourism Council and Phuket Tourist Association, urged Thais to travel to the island to celebrate New Year despite the postponement of the fifth phase of the "Rao Tiew Duay Kan" (We Travel Together) campaign.

At present, most of the tourists in Phuket are from Russia (150,000), followed by Indians (70,000). The island is also seeing a return of tourist groups from European and especially Scandinavian countries, he said.

Phuket is now seeing tourism revenue reach around 60% of the pre-pandemic level, Mr Thaneth said, adding that 2019 revenue amounted to about 400 billion baht.

The island is also planning to launch an off-season marketing campaign in India and Australia, as well as China now that the country has announced it will waive quarantine requirements for Chinese people from Jan 8.

Mr Thaneth said tourism will continue to stage a gradual recovery after the New Year period.

He urged the government to lend more support to the tourism industry; specifically, the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO) should support the private sector in carrying out its targeted destination marketing in 2023, he added.

The Phuket PAO will also assist the association in launching new marketing campaigns in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, to attract more tourists by the end of January, he said.

Among other events planned for the year ahead, representatives from Phuket will attend the International Tourism Exchange (ITB), an international trade fair, to trumpet the island's full reopening, Mr Thaneth added.

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