According to the most recent Phuket Reopening Daily Report issued by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Phuket welcomed 42,375 foreign tourists during Apr 1-14 giving the daily average of 3,026 arrivals.
To put it into perspective, total arrivals in March stood at 72,205 giving an average of 2,329 arrivals per day, while arrivals in January and February combined totaled 166,466 giving the daily average of 2,821.
Overall, since Jan 1 the island welcomed 281,046 air passengers from abroad compared to 184,030 from July 1 (start of Phuket Sandbox scheme) to Dec 31 last year.
Yet the number of arrivals is still much lower than what Phuket used to enjoy before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Airports of Thailand (AoT) report for 2019, Phuket International Airport throughout that year accommodated 10,66 million international passengers in 12 months giving an average monthly load of 883,333 passengers per day inclusive of both arrivals and departures, high season and low season.
More encouraging news may follow next Friday (Apr 22) when the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Minister and the TAT should put forward their proposal for the cancellation of Thailand Pass and Test & Go requirements at a meeting of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
If approved, the changes are expected to take effect on May 1, meaning tourists would be able to enter the country using vaccine passports instead of having to wait 3-5 days for their documents to be approved, as required by Thailand Pass, reports the Bangkok Post.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said this Wednesday (Apr 13) the ministry estimates at least 10mn tourist arrivals and B1-1.5 trillion in tourism income this year.
A short-term push is also expected from the long Songkran holidays. AoT expects about 1 million passengers, both domestic and international, to pass through its six airports during the week-long festive period. This is a surge of 103% from 12 months ago.
The 843,220 domestic passengers will represent a hike of 62% and the 238,800 international passengers a whopping 1,798% increase on the same period last year.