Phuket ranked first nationally, outside of Bangkok, after official figures revealed just under B128 billion of income has been generated between January and the end of October this year through tourism.
Governor Narong also thanked all Thai people and the government for their collective efforts which enabled the stimulation of national and international tourism to the island.
“Right now, Phuket has more tourists coming to its shores than any other province in the country,” Governor Narong said yesterday (Dec 30). “However, it is not just about Phuket. Phuket is part of Thailand and someone once said that if Phuket gets sick then it means Thailand is sick. Conversely, if Phuket recovers it means Thailand recovers. Phuket is a leading destination for tourists from around the world. Therefore, it is natural that our income will increase compared to other places, except Bangkok.
“Much of the recovery of Phuket is down to the bravery of Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha who decided to support the Phuket Sandbox policy, which at that time was a first, not only in Thailand but globally. This meant we had more time to prepare which gave us a head start on other provinces.
“Times were extremely tough during the height of COVID and many were fearful that the negative experience would not pass but we were able to manage things successfully from the outset of the Sandbox opening, which just allowed our confidence to grow even more,” Governor Narong added.
“I have to thank not only the people of Phuket but all Thai brothers and sisters throughout the country. We are all one and this is about Thailand, not just Phuket.”
Governor Narong stressed how now the focus was on ensuring that foreign visitors to Phuket enjoyed themselves so as they were both motivated to return and tell others of their positive experience, which would in turn continue to benefit the entire country.
“We want to continue to welcome and impress tourists who will hopefully then decide to return to the country,” he said. “Similarly, we hope that if they have enjoyed a positive experience while in Phuket that they will give positive feedback to others back in their homeland which can encourage further tourists to visit, be it Phuket or elsewhere in Thailand.”
Governor Narong also pointed to Phuket’s efforts to host the Specialised Expo in 2028, which, he said, illustrated the island was ready to host tourists and visitors on a grand scale.
However, one area of concern was skyrocketing airfare prices, Governor Narong cautioned.
“While it is absolutely a positive that Phuket is seeing tourists return in high numbers, we are still conscious of and worried about the continued rising cost of airfares. We are in constant discussions with government and related agencies to find ways to overcome this challenge, especially with the Chinese New Year and Songkran celebrations early next year,” Governor Narong explained.
In the 10 months of this year from January to November the top 10 provinces with the highest tourism related income were as follows: 1. Phuket B128bn; 2. Chonburi B13bn; 3. Surat Thani B7.5bn; 4. Chiang Mai 4bn; 5. Songkhla B3bn; 6. Phang Nga B2.6bn; 7. Chiang Rai B1.5bn; 8. Krabi B1.4bn; 9. Prachuap Khiri Khan B854 million; 10. Nong Khai B526mn.
In the same time period Phuket received the highest number of foreign tourists at 2.32 million, followed by Chonburi with 975,026, Surat Thani with 606,812, Songkhla with 581,808 and Chiang Mai with 496,111.
The top 10 foreign visitors by nationality during the same 10 month period are: Malaysian (1.29 million), Indian (698,757), Singaporean (381,940), Laotian (345,709), Vietnamese (340,670), South Korean (316,240), United Kingdom (291,753), United States (283,211), Cambodian (252,862) and German (235,596).
Governor Narong also issued a reminder for all residents of the island to be mindful of road safety during the New Year period to ensure that accidents were minimalised and a good and safe time was therefore experienced by all.
“New Year is a festival of happiness and I want everyone to be happy with smiling faces during this period,” he said. “Therefore I urge everyone to please help and respect one another at this time and to be careful when driving vehicles on the road. Please strictly adhere to traffic rules such as drink driving. If everyone cooperates then we should be able to achieve a happy environment and experience for all during this special time.”