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Phuket tourism arrivals plunge

PHUKET: The number of tourist arrivals landing at Phuket International Airport has plunged as the island starts to record a return to hundreds of new COVID infections in the past few days.

By The Phuket News

Friday 7 January 2022, 12:08PM

Only on Tuesday (Jan 4) were leading Phuket tourism officials were calling for people to protect themselves from the outbreak of Omicron infections spreading across the island, citing stringent action to be taken to prevent the island’s already battered tourism industry from suffering more heavy losses.

Phuket had enjoyed a relatively successful New Year, with TAT Phuket Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri pointing out, “During the four-day New Year’s holiday the income from tourism in Phuket amounted to B1.36 billion.”

However, the number of infections recorded since have spiralled upward, from 46 on Dec 29 to 256 recorded yesterday (Jan 6). Of the 256, 159 were staffers working on Bangla Rd, Patong, who tested positive in an ATK mass-testing push organised by nightlife venue owners. 

After peaking with tourist arrivals numbering in the mid- to high-4,000s over the New Year,  the “Phuket Reopening Daily Report” issued by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported 3,860 arrivals for Monday (Jan 3), falling to 2,609 on Tuesday (Jan 4).

By Wednesday (Jan 5), the TAT reported just 1,972 arrivals, comprising 742 Test & Go arrivals and 1,229 Sandbox arrivals. Of those, 10 Test & Go arrivals tested positive for COVID-19 on landing at Phuket airport, as did 46 Sandbox arrivals.

The TAT  “Phuket Reopening Daily Report” for yesterday (Jan 6), marked a slight improvement, with 2,847 arrivals in total. Of those, 1,081 were Test & Go arrivals (with 61 testing positive on arrival) and 1,747 were Sandbox arrivals (with 97 testing positive on landing).

Art-Tec Design

The graphs issued in the Phuket Immigration Daily Report show the dramatic impact in the fall in the number of arrivals.

The Phuket Immigration report for yesterday marked that Russians were still the top source market for tourist arrivals since Nov 1, with 24,527 Russians arriving on the island. Second were Germans with 14,323 arrivals, followed by the UK (10,900), Sweden (8,527) and France (6,868).

The last five of the ‘Top 10’ were Kazakhstan, Israel, the US, Thai, Swiss nationals, respectively.

Phuket officials have now publicly recognised a slew of critical issues affecting tourism to Phuket, including critical flaws in the Thailand Pass approval process and lack of support for tourists seeking advice and assistance in clearing the process.

Other critical issues to be addressed include forcing tourists who test positive ‒ but exhibit no symptoms of infection ‒ to remain in their hotel rooms instead of being taken into the local healthcare system

Phuket officials and leading tourism figures have yet to comment on the dramatic fall in the number of arrivals over the past two days.

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maverick | 10 January 2022 - 12:34:33

I have just travelled to Samui for a family get away, it’s desolate, Chaweng and Lamai are ghost towns, if this is what the future holds for Phuket without tourism god help the locals - I am still in shock as we head to Koh Tao, let’s see what awaits us there. Ferry is full which is encouraging, perhaps the demise of FM parties and Phangan is the problem for Samui

Kurt | 09 January 2022 - 12:52:08

Local Officials & Tourism figures still have to fantasize a illogical nonsens reason for the dramatic fall in numbers of arrivals. They never will admit that their biggest mistake was to terminate the  Test & Go program. The 4-Day New Year holiday was a greedy moneymaker. But also the motor that started the spiking Omicron figures punishes them now for that 4-Days financial greed. 

christysweet | 08 January 2022 - 13:49:22

 With all its shoreline Thailand could invest in tidal energy and command the region within  a decade  instead of relying on tourism, which  is going to crash and burn. Covid is just the start. Capitalism is unsustainable when there's no more room for growth. 

another overseas scot | 08 January 2022 - 11:59:58

THB has dropped 15% in past year. as tourists go to other countries where they are welcome that will hit short & long term revenues. Government & personal borrowing is easy now wait  a few months - THB collapse & financial crisis with no one to ride to the rescue as all are in the same situation.

another overseas scot | 08 January 2022 - 11:43:50

BobTB your suggestion is far too sensible for the authorities. Let's face it the COVID scare is BS & the Omicron scare double BS. The issue impacting Thai & global business is not the virus it is the idiot governments' response to it. Thankfully other governments beginning to realise they have to live with this - like the 'flu & the cold. Unfortunately that is not the case ...

BobTB | 07 January 2022 - 18:46:01

And why would I prefer "being taken into the local healthcare system" than remaining in my hotel room if I was asymptomatic?

BobTB | 07 January 2022 - 18:40:30

Is it not possible that the fall in arrivals has less to do with infection levels in Phuket than the suspension of Test & Go? I'd like to go to Thailand to be reunited with my wife, but I won't under the Sandbox scheme.


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