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COVID-19 cost Phuket B15bn in February, may cost B70bn in total, say experts

COVID-19 cost Phuket B15bn in February, may cost B70bn in total, say experts

PHUKET: The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus cost Phuket more than B15 billion in February alone and may cost the island up to B70bn, expert analysts at the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Phuket campus Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism have reported.

COVID-19Coronaviruseconomicstourismhealth
By Khunanya Wanchanwet

Friday 13 March 2020, 12:17PM


Dr Chayanon Pucharoen speaking at the press conference yesterday (Mar 12). Photo: Khunanya Wanchanwet

Dr Chayanon Pucharoen speaking at the press conference yesterday (Mar 12). Photo: Khunanya Wanchanwet

Dr Chayanon Pucharoen, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at PSU Phuket’s Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, together with Assoc Prof Pun Thongchumnum, Vice President of the PSU Phuket campus, announced their dire forecast at a press conference yesterday (Mar 12).

“In our initial research we estimated that Phuket would lose around B32bn in lost tourism revenues from the COVID-19 outbreak,” Dr Chayanon explained. (See story here.)

“However, the spread of the disease has become much worse, affecting many other parts of the world, so conducted another research project which showed that the tourism revenues lost can reach up to B70bn from February through August,” he said.

Tourism business operators obviously were the most heavily affected, Dr Chayanon said, but added that the knock-on effect has seen many of other types of businesses on the island suffer.

Dr Chayanon revealed that the economic impact for February alone is now estimated to be around B15.6 billion, as follows:

  • Hotel operators – B4.6bn
  • Restaurant operators – B2.9bn
  • Retail operators – B2.6bn
  • Transportation operators – B2bn
  • Attraction place operators – B1.8bn
  • Entertainment operators – B1.7bn

“If the spread of the virus is not controlled soon, island tour operators may not be able to keep their business open as they will have lost main customers and will no longer be able to pay ongoing expenses,” Dr Chayanon warned.

Dr Chayanon also gave his worst case scenario: “If the spread of the virus is not contained by the end of April, the damage maybe rise to as much as B100bn.”

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