The tourist, An Huifeng, from Shanghai, was pulled from the water unconscious after 8am.
Efforts to revive him on the beach, near the Police Box at the end of Bangla Rd, failed, and Mr An was pronounced dead on arrival at Patong hospital minutes later.
Mr An arrived in Phuket with his girlfriend, landing at Phuket International Airport at about 7am, police confirmed.
He had not even checked in to his hotel yet, noted Lt Col Patapee Srichai of the Patong Police.
“Mr An was scheduled to check in at the Sri Boutique Hotel (formerly known as PSB Resort) in Patong at midday,” Col Patapee said.
“He was due to stay in Karon for another two days before travelling to Chiang Mai, wher ehe was to stay for five days,” he said.
Mr An’s family have been informed of his death, Col Patapee confirmed.
“His girlfriend told police that they have to wait for the sister of the deceased to travel to Thailand to claim his remains,” he added.
In June this year, Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports called for the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) to ask its members to refrain from offering diving activities to tourists on the first day they arrive in Thailand.
According to the statement, signed by the Tourism & Sports Minister at the time, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the ministry was concerned for the welfare of tourists who might be suffering from jet lag, or are otherwise tired after a long flight.
Chinese tourists who love water sports were the main target for the new campaign, which was in response to an increase in marine accidents including drowning. (See story here.)