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.
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.
prosmartantidumb | 13 May 2023 - 12:07:20