Phuket has welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors during the first five months of this year, generating over 26 billion baht in revenue for the resort island, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, director of the TAT's Phuket Office, said on Tuesday that hotel rooms in Phuket used to be 75% booked before the pandemic. But the hotel reservation rate declined to 19.47% in 2020 and 7.75% in 2021.
As Phuket's economy is highly dependent on the tourism industry, the government has stepped up measures to help spur demand, she said.
Since the launch of the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) tourism stimulus campaign, the proportion of domestic tourists rose to 80% of the total last year, the same level as foreign tourists prior to the pandemic in 2019, according to Ms Nanthasiri.
Furthermore, she said more than 200,000 foreign tourists had visited Phuket with the launch of the Sandbox scheme from July to December last year.
From the beginning of this year to May 31, around 1.73 million tourists visited the island, of them 132,472 were domestic travellers, Ms Nanthasiri added.
The island has earned 26.5 billion baht from tourist spending, of which 14.4 billion baht came from Thais, indicating an increase in the number of domestic tourists lately, she said.
As a tourism-reliant economy, Phuket has recovered faster than other provinces, with the hotel reservation rate for the first five months of the year standing at 28.27% on average, Ms Nanthasiri said.
Phuket is the most popular province for tourists in the South, according to Ms Nanthasiri.
Somsuk Samphanprateep, deputy chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office, said the Covid-19 situation on the island has improved as new daily infections now stand at an average of 15.
Despite the easing of the face mask mandate, masks are still required for the high-risk "608" group, and in crowded areas. The group comprises people aged 60 and older, those with underlying conditions and pregnant women.
Phuket is ready to enter the post-pandemic phase on Friday, he said.