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Phuket struggles to attract domestic tourists

Phuket struggles to attract domestic tourists

PHUKET: Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office Director Napasorn Kakai has revealed that some 15,000 tourists came to Phuket to enjoy the four-day long weekend (Sept 4-7), altogether spending an estimated B80 million over the holidays.

By The Phuket News

Monday 7 September 2020, 02:46PM

Ms Napasorn said that the 125 hotels on the island currently open, providing some 8,000 rooms for guests, had recorded an overall occupancy rate of around 30%.

Of the 15,000 tourists who came to Phuket, 98% were Thai and 2% were foreigners, she said.

The average expenditure per person, including travel costs, was estimated at around B5,500 per person per day, Ms Napasorn said, noting that altogether tourists travelling to Phuket had generated some B80mn for the economy.

Ms Napasorn pointed out that there are currently 34 flights traveling to Phuket every day, comprising 30 flights from Bangkok as well as flights from other major destinations in Thailand such as Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Udon Thani.

Most of the flights were enjoying around 80% occupancy, bringing some 5,000 passengers per day to Phuket, she added.

Ms Napasorn rated the success of the long weekend in attracting tourists to Phuket as low, but added that it was expected.

“When comparing the actual number of tourists who came to Phuket with the number of tourists expected to come, there is no difference. Some tourists went north to Khao Lak in Phang Nga, as a lot of five-star hotels there have given big discounts, which can be even cheaper with the discounts offered through the ‘We Travel Together’ campaign,” she said.

“The reason we have not had large numbers of tourists might be because of the image that visiting Phuket is expensive, even though we have been trying to create a new good image,” Ms Napasorn said.

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“When comparing the cost of a holiday in Phuket, it is much cheaper [for people in Bangkok] to travel to a province nearby. They do not have to spend money on flight tickets, which are currently quite expensive, or take a long time to drive to their destination,” she added.

Of note, popular tourist destinations within driving distance of Bangkok have reported spikes in tourist numbers over the long weekend.

To help boost travel to Phuket since the beginning of the month, the TAT Phuket office is offering any person from outside Phuket who books at least one guest accommodation room  in Phuket for at least one night anytime from Sept 2-9 a B500 voucher to be spent at local restaurants or other local businesses taking part in the campaign.

To claim the voucher, tourists only need to present to TAT Phuket officers evidence of their room booking, Ms Napasorn explained.

The TAT Phuket office this month also will hold a domestic tourism roadshow to other provinces in southern Thailand, including Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Hat Yai in Songkhla, and stage a domestic tourism event in Bangkok on Sept 11-13 to present tour packages to expats working in Bangkok, Ms Napasorn said.

“TAT Phuket is also working with the travel Facebook page ‘Sneak out หนีเที่ยว’, which has more than 2 million followers, to create content about Phuket tourist attractions and feature budget travel options like B4,000 for a three-day trip,” she added.

Meanwhile, the TAT Phuket campaign “Phuket Great Time” continues, providing a free online booking platform for all tourism-related businesses in Phuket to offer discount packages to prospective tourists.

“We hope that all campaigns we have conducted will stimulate the economy and attract more Thais to Phuket,” Ms Napasorn said.

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agogohome | 10 September 2020 - 19:30:15

Tuk-tuk drivers agreed a fare of 20 Baht for rides in Patong, the other week. And hotels at some Laguna hotels can be booked for less than 1,000/nt, including food and entertainment. Some people posting here need to check their facts! 

jm | 09 September 2020 - 11:30:16

In 1968, Hong Kong flu made between 2 and 20 millions deads. No lockdown, business and tourisma as usual, and nobody remembers that. And today, because of a less dangerous flu, the gouvernements destroy the economy... Incredible

Timothy | 09 September 2020 - 07:55:03

Word has been out about Phuket being a rip off, for years. It starts with the taxi from the airport. At least 4X higher than Bangkok. Crappy tin can tuk tuks, minimum 200 baht charge. If the people in charge want to do something to improve the image of Phuket. Start with the taxis! Meters in all. Same price as Bangkok. Then they wouldn't sit all day waiting for that one rip off fare. 

CaptainJack69 | 08 September 2020 - 12:12:56

The TOTAL daily spend was estimated at 5500B per person per day yet hotels here continue to advertise "special" rates at well in excess of 5000B a night just for the room. Is it any wonder people think Phuket is expensive?

Kurt | 08 September 2020 - 10:37:53

Of course this 'struggle' was expected. Phuket is among Thai people well known for her outrageous price levels. That image doesn't change overnight. And Thai tourists look for having holidays in a different way from foreigners. Phuket's holiday infrastructure ( now dead) focus on foreign tourists. Thai know that.

cpfleger | 07 September 2020 - 19:10:18

Domestic tourism is obvioulsy no cure against the economical, still highly underestimated impact of Covid19 for Phuket, Koh Samui et al. 
Soon all sworn in happiness might be gone replaced by anger and hunger. 
Is it very wise to wait for that? Or would the geographic situation of having an island, having control about movements from/to not indicate some smarter/faster reopening strategy?

Apirath | 07 September 2020 - 17:39:00

About Phuket being expensive I wonder if tuktuk drivers there have come to their senses and charge a fair price or if they continue to do what they’ve always done and practically send off tourists elsewhere


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