Speaking during a television interview yesterday (Sept 27), Governor Phakaphong explained that the festival this year coincides with China’s “Golden Week” of holidays, including China’s National Day, a week when many mainland Chinese travel abroad.
Governor Phakaphong noted, “A lot of Chinese people from neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia come to visit the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, and many Thais have realised that they have not seen the festival and come to experience it for themselves. This together brings a significant tourism boost to the province.
“The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) promotes the festival every year, but this year has pushed its campaign across every form of media, resulting in a large amount of interest.
“Occupancy rates at hotels in Phuket Town and areas near shrines have been at about 65%, but we expect the number to rise sharply as the festival begins. Most people these days book at the last minute,” he added.
The government’s national “Taste and Shop” domestic tourism campaign is also likely to play a part in the predicted boost in the number of tourists coming to Phuket for the festival, and the subsequent boost in tourism revenues.
“Many people are still cautious about their spending. The economic situation has not yet fully recovered, but the government's ‘Taste and Shop’ campaign is likely to stimulate general spending, including travel, goods and services,” he said.
With the mainstay of tourists expected to arrive for the festival coming from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia, the boost in spending on the island is expected to benefit all tourism operators, the Governor said.
“After the major expenses of paying the tour operator and accommodation, the second main expense for tourists will be food,” he said.
“All the stalls in front of shrines selling vegetarian dishes, as well as hotels and stores near shrines, will benefit,” he added.