FRIDAY, February 23, 2024

Phuket pushes new government to give priority to tourism

Phuket pushes new government to give priority to tourism

Phuket entrepreneurs plan to submit 6 proposals to the Move Forward Party, the leader of the probable new government coalition, in a bid to further promote tourism industry in the province.

“As Phuket is aiming to be a world class destination, these issues must be addressed/supported by the new government immediately”, said Phuket Tourist Association chairman Thanet Tantipiriyakit on Tuesday.

 Info: Phuket Tourist Association has proposed six measures to increase tourism  

The proposals are:

1. Overhaul the public transport system in Phuket, especially issues related to taxi services, such as using fixed prices instead of meter-based ones, inflating prices for foreign tourists, and refusing passengers. These longstanding problems, according to Thanet, have given Phuket a bad reputation since tourism started booming.

2. The tourism industry must be prioritised as one of the two main engines to drive Thailand’s economy forward, the other being the export sector. Entrepreneurs want to see tourism-related industries, such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, given more funding to implement a greater number of promotional campaigns year round.

3. Increase international flights in terms of frequency and routes to attract foreign visitors. Thanet noted that the national carrier Thai Airways International is currently in a rehabilitation phase from its near bankruptcy state, and it should be the new government’s top mission to make it strong again to serve rising demand of foreign visitors in the post-Covid era.

4. Clarity in government’s supportive measures to tourism entrepreneurs in terms of environment, energy and clean energy costs.

5. Government’s continued support of Phuket’s bid to host of the 2028 Specialised Expo against its four competitors, namely the US, Serbia, Spain and Argentina. The winner will be decided by vote on June 21.

6. The new government must maintain balance in international relationships, as this directly affects the tourism industry.

The association estimates that this year Phuket will see both domestic and foreign visitors reach around 60-70% of those in 2019, which stood at 14 million people. Meanwhile, the tourism revenue will also rise to 70-80% of the 2019 figure, which was recorded at 470 billion baht.

Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter, added that in the first three months of this year, which were still within the tourism high season, hotels in Phuket recorded average occupation rate of 86%. With April, which has a 72% average, the occupation rate for the four months stood at 82%.

The association estimated that May’s number will drop to 60% and then 50% in June, when the tourism fully enters the low season.

“We estimate that average hotel occupation in Phuket this year will be around 65-70%, as fewer tourists will come during low season compared to before the pandemic,” he said. “Furthermore, the province’s major market, China, has yet to fully recover from the impact of Covid-19, forcing hotel operators to adjust their strategy for the rest of the year.”

Suksit said currently Phuket has about 900 registered hotels (with permits) and a capacity of around 70,000 rooms. When combined with those without permits, the island province has around 3,000 hotels providing 200,000 rooms.