Phuket cashes in as tourists return
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Phuket cashes in as tourists return

Island most popular with foreign visitors

Tourists take pictures in Phuket's Old Town zone last month. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Tourists take pictures in Phuket's Old Town zone last month. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

Phuket has emerged as the tourist destination raking in the highest earnings this year in Thailand, collecting at least 127 billion baht in tourism revenue in the first 10 months of 2022, said government spokeswoman Tipanan Sirichana.

According to Ms Tipanan, Chon Buri ranked second with 13 billion baht while Surat Thani placed third with 7 billion baht in tourism income.

Phuket also ranked first in terms of most foreign visitors, with nearly 2.4 million international tourists arriving on the island from January to October, followed by Chon Buri (975,026 visitors), and Surat Thani (606,812 visitors).

The poll showed that most tourists visiting Thailand this year came from Malaysia, India, Singapore, Laos, and Vietnam, respectively.

"The country, led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, recently welcomed its ten millionth foreign visitor at Suvarnabhumi airport," said Ms Tipanan. "According to this online survey, people can sense our success from the Sandbox scheme as they see more tourists choosing Thailand as their [holiday] destination.

"The government has also put in place measures encouraging movie productions to use the country as one of their scouting locations. It has also implemented extension-of-stay measures for expats to assist with the recovery of tourism, similar to the Sandbox scheme," she said.

At least 20 million people are expected to visit Thailand next year, according to Ms Tipanan.

In other news, Thailand's aviation industry has devised a survival strategy to support the country's rapidly reviving, and growing, tourism industry.

Suvadhana Sibunruang, the acting CEO of Thai Airways (THAI), said the airline plans to recruit at least 1,000 more ground staff to help improve passenger service times.

He said passengers should receive their luggage within 30 minutes over the New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, the international airport in Chiang Mai will welcome four new direct routes from three carriers next year, according to Natthawut Ta-inta, the airport's deputy director of operations, on Thursday.

Chiang Mai International Airport welcomed 21,000–23,000 passengers a day this year.

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