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Low season arrivals to Phuket forecast at 50% of pre-pandemic levels

Low season arrivals to Phuket forecast at 50% of pre-pandemic levels

PHUKET: Tourist arrivals to Phuket during this year’s low season are expected to be around 50% of the numbers recorded in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. The key headwinds now are sluggish arrivals from China and the bankruptcy of Go First affecting arrivals from India, said Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, President of the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA).

By The Phuket News

Friday 12 May 2023, 03:38PM

Foreign tourists at Phuket International Airport. Photo: TAC Phuket

Foreign tourists at Phuket International Airport. Photo: TAC Phuket

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Mr Thaneth added one more negative factor, presented in the article as "the temporary closure of Phuket International Airport from 1 am until 7 am until the beginning of July." This is likely to mean yet another delay in the completion of the runway repair which prevents Phuket airport from servicing any flights at night, as witnessed by FlightRadar24.

According to Mr Thaneth, Chinese airlines had been widely using those night slots before the COVID-19 pandemic and are still interested in them for extra flights. Yet, due to repair works, the slots are not available. Mr Thaneth forecast Chinese arrivals to reach only 30-40% of the pre-crisis levels of 2019 during this low season. The forecast for the whole market stands at 50% of 2019.

Phuket’s tourist business witnessed seasonal changes in arrivals in April, when visits from India fell 12.3% month-on-month while visits from Russia dropped 32.7% compared to March. China arrivals grew by 3.5% and failed to provide any compensation for the drops in Indian and Russian arrivals.

In this situation, Phuket’s only choice for this low season would be trying to gain more visitors from the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. According to Mr Thaneth, the period after the Hajj (annual Muslim pilgrimage to holy places) is popular for tourism in this country. The president of the TPA also noted the improvement of transportation accessibility to Thailand from this region, including both direct flights from various cities and flights through local aviation hubs.

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Mr Thaneth stated that he would like to see the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) continue its aggressive marketing strategy in the Middle East.

Regarding the TAT’s tasks in the Chinese market, Mr Thaneth said the authorities "should deal with the impact of fake news concerning unsafe vacations in Thailand that had circulated on Chinese social media platforms." He did not provide any examples of these "fake news".

At the same time, Mr Thaneth stressed the need for strict measures to eliminate nominee businesses and zero-dollar tours which damage the reputation of Thailand.

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prosmartantidumb | 13 May 2023 - 12:07:20

it's because nobody wants to make holiday in new moscow. open your eyes. next high season will be even worse, because the tourist in last high season were very disappointed and annoyed by them. they are like locusts and destroying phuket. same in every part of the world were russians are: no european tourists. play stupid games, win stupid prices.

Kurt | 13 May 2023 - 08:32:24

Mr Thanet didn't provide any samples of 'fake news'. Of course not, he lies. True that foreigner can only own 49% of his business, he must have a 51% thai partner? Than logic that Thailand is land of nominees, most never set foot in the business, know nothing about it, just collect money for a signature. Zero dollar tours will always go on, damage thai money coffers only, not reputatio...


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