Connect with us

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket seeks to diversify after Covid-19

Jack Burton

Published 

 on 

Phuket seeks to diversify after Covid-19 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket's famous beaches, the province's main attraction, remain empty - The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cripple Thailand’s vital tourism sector, with provinces that rely the most on tourism revenue, being hit the hardest. Thailand may have managed to contain the Covid-19 virus, but at the expense of its economy going into a free fall with the southern resort province of Phuket exemplifying the downturn.

Phuket businesses, which rely almost exclusively on foreign arrivals for tourism income, cannot estimate when the island’s economic crisis, the worst ever, will be over. Firmly positioned as a world-class destination, Thailand’s largest island has earned vast revenue from foreign tourists, many with deep pockets. So when an unpredictable factor such as the Covid-19 pandemic forcing border closures and halting flights, Phuket’s income has slowed to a trickle, with its local economy at risk of a total meltdown.

The situation couldn’t more stark than in the popular party town of Patong. Usually a thriving and bustling tourist Mecca, full of bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, expensive markets, massage shops and Thais hustling the foreign tourists for tours and ‘deals’. The entire town exists as a seaside city designed to efficiently extract tourist dollars from the pockets of foreign visitors. Now it’s mostly a ghost town, certainly a much humbler and quieter city of closed shops and barren streets. A few hotels re-opened when the lockdown was lifted. Many have shut again since.

Phuket’s tourism sector employed 323,219 people locally before the virus struck in January, generating 245 billion baht in its annual gross provincial product, according to the new provincial governor Narong Woonsew. He says a whopping 80% of the province’s economy relies on tourism. The damage to the province’s tourism sector from impacts of the outbreak is estimated at 160 billion baht so far. Tourists visiting Phuket this year are predicted to shrink to 5 million or probably less, down from last year’s 14.4 million. Of those, 1.5 million will be Thais. Governor Narong says the situation is prompting a rethink of the province’s economic advancement strategy.

“After the government ordered the closure of our skies, Phuket’s tourism revenue was wiped out.”

Even when tourism resumes under the “new normal” practices, there will have to be a paradigm shift in the way the province determines where it will derive its income. According to Narong, the provincial office and tourism companies are looking to diversify and promote a variety of sectors to drive new growth. 6 sectors have been earmarked; marinas, education, health and wellness, seafood exports, gastronomy as well as sports and events businesses.

(The island’s marinas mostly serve as expensive parking garages for infrequent visits of the boat owners, or as a jump-off point for some of the more exclusive island tours. The booming international school scene was merely a response to the large foreign employee contingent who wanted a quality education for their children. The ‘wellness’ scene has suffered over the past 3 years with a strong Thai baht and expensive private hospitals pricing themselves out of a competitive regional market.)

“These will be our new economic engines which will function alongside the conventional tourism businesses,” the governor said.

Phuket is home to 5 marinas, 38 seaports and a deep-sea port. About 1,500 yachts and cruise ships visit the province each year on average.

As for education, the province is looking to create internationally accredited study programs to increase enrollments of foreign students. Already the location of 12 international schools, Phuket has set a yearly revenue target of 2.1 billion baht from 3,600 students.

For tuna exports, the future looks bright. Phuket has both state-run and privately-owned wharves where more than hundreds of boats from Japan, Taiwan and the US arrive to buy top-grade tuna at high prices. The exports are worth 1.3 billion baht a year.

The gastronomy industry is a lucrative revenue stream which capitalises on the island’s unique food culture at its nearly 2,000 restaurants. Annual turnover of the sector is estimated at 91 billion baht with more room to grow in the future.

Phuket is currently preparing 3 major events to promote tourism, with the minister of commerce overseeing the campaign. The events will start with the 5-week Phuket Seafood & Gastronomy Festival in August and September, followed by a surf competition in September, and concluding with the traditional Vegetarian Festival in October.

For now, it remains unlikely that many foreign tourists will be able to visit the island end enjoy any of them.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | NNT

Keep in contact with Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following Thaiger.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ziying ling

    Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Very absurd, there is no open customs, no matter what they do they will not welcome tourists

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 10:51 am

    The remedy is in their own hands.
    The chances of dying of this virus is tiny.
    Thailand should change their policy from forced risk avoidance to, these are the recommendations. It is at your own risk if you ignore them.

    • Avatar

      me

      Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      toby, i can’t believe you’re still alive. the one-man, misinformed propaganda machine.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 3:38 pm

        I try in vain to find something you have commented on, apart from my posts.
        Try expressing an opinion on the post published, if you are able.
        So I can have a pointless objection as you do.

    • Avatar

      Das

      Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      edgelord

  3. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    I thought Phuket was going to be a “smart city” as in Thailand 4.0, earmarked for digital industries?!

    A lot of news articles just seem like desperate cries of failing sectors, railing against economic realities.

    Everything in Phuket is overvalued by about double… all the house prices, all the food prices, all the room rates, all the marina moorings, all the international hospitals, and the international schools, seafood exports, and events businesses – all overvalued.
    Those that adjust their prices and business models to reality, might survive.

    The most urgently-needed thing in Phuket is to upgrade the training centres for local people to upskill them for a more diversified economy. That’s the obvious lesson… all the eggs have been put in one basket, and it’s fallen from being carried too high, and what a surprise, all the eggs are broken. If they’re quick enough they might be able to scrape enough together to cook up a metaphorical omlette… best to hire a foreign chef to cook it and serve it properly.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 11:37 am

    I was there for two nights only.
    On one night my hotel cost was doubled because a motorbike taxi had taken me there. The commission was a 100 percent.
    I never went back.
    Rinky is right, everything is overvalued by about double. The most expensive place in Thailand.
    Let us see if they can get those prices without felang tourists

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hotel blog suggests Phuket should push ahead with July reopening despite Covid surge

Avatar

Published

on

Hotel blog suggests Phuket should push ahead with July reopening despite Covid surge | Thaiger
PHOTO: Hotels and other tourism business are hoping the July 1st reopening goal can still be achieved.

A hotel information blog is claiming that, despite growing Covid-19 numbers, Phuket should stick to its schedule in reopening to travellers without quarantine in July. That’s only 2 and a half months away.

In an interview with the Director of Travel and Tourism Consulting at GlobalData, they stressed that while it is crucial to reign in the spread of Covid-19 and the B117 strain now manacing Thailand, the risk must not overshadow the need teo push forward with vaccinations and the march towards eliminating the quarantine by July in order to save the tourism industry and all those dependent on it.

“The Phuket pilot program is essential in creating a path towards economic recovery for Thailand, a country heavily dependent on tourism. More than 17% of Thailand’s gross domestic product is attributed to tourism and the Covid-19 pandemic has lead to the worst economic free-fall in over 20 years”

The blog acknowledges the inherent risk and possible appearance of foolishness to prioritise the plans to reopen and carry on with the same rollout schedule. But they urge Thai authorities to consider that July 1 is still 2 and a half months away, leaving ample time to recover and make progress towards the approaching Phuket reopening. A vital aspect of the reopening plan lies in vaccinating over 70% of Phuket’s provincial residents, a sizable task, but one that brings great benefit with or without the scheduled reopening.

“Pushing ahead to achieve this goal puts Phuket on track to welcome back tourists, perhaps in a “bio-bubble”, and restart the economy. The economy is desperate with household debt growing, pushing the government to enact emergency decrees to provide relief. These households need the return of tourism and the influx of cash international tourists will bring.”

The blog hopes that Thai authorities can balance the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in Phuket to protect the Thai population with the economic need to bring back tourism. They believe that with sufficient measures in place, vaccinated locals could welcome vaccinated international tourists back to Phuket reopening safely in July.

SOURCE: Hotel News Resource

Keep in contact with Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Chon Buri

Chon Buri adds 99 new Covid-19 infections today

Avatar

Published

on

Chon Buri adds 99 new Covid-19 infections today | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Covid-19 cases continue to be identified from entertainment venues across Thailand.

The Chon Buri Covid-19 cluster is spreading with the Chon Buri Provincial Public Health Office confirming 99 new cases today. The province, which contains Pattaya, seems to be following a growing infection trend. The Pattaya area saw 47 new cases, and Mueang Chon Buri had 41 cases, with other districts having less than 5 each. 2 people infected with Covid-19 were brought from outside Chon Buri for treatment locally. The new cases bring the total number of Covid-19 infections in the province up to 710 people.

While infections are on the rise, officials advise that the numbers are not showing a severe or exponential increase and are in line with daily averages. They say the growing numbers are more likely due to “diligent testing throughout the community”, especially in nightlife venues and popular entertainment districts. 984 cautionary tests were administered today along with 342 people suspected to have been in close contact with Covid-19 infected people.

Within the new infections, 41 people are still being investigated to find the source of the virus, while 29 people were family members or close contacts of other infected people.

The sources of new infections are…

  • PATTAYA
    • 3 infections at The Box 69 Pattaya
    • 3 infections at Cetus Pattaya
    • 3 infections at Garden 168
    • 1 infection at Bone Pattaya
    • 1 infection at Insomnia Pattaya
  • OTHER AREAS IN CHON BURI
    • 5 infections at Flintstone’s Pub in Meung Chon Buri, the source of 137 cases total.
    • 4 infections at Infinity Siracha
    • 3 infections at 2.7 Replay Bang Saen
  • FROM OUTSIDE CHON BURI
    • 4 infections at Entertainment venues in Bangkok

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

Keep in contact with Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Northern Thai provinces starting Covid restrictions as 3rd wave spreads

Avatar

Published

on

Northern Thai provinces starting Covid restrictions as 3rd wave spreads | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Thailand’s northern provinces are starting to impose more self-quarantines or travel restrictions to combat the recent Covid-19 outbreak that has spread quickly throughout northern Thailand. Phichit and Lampang provinces are the latest in northern Thailand to impose a variety of covid-19 restrictions on people entering.

A Thailand Interior Ministry told Chiang Rai Times that the longer list emphasises the seriousness of the 3rd wave of the coronavirus. The new wave originated in nightlife venues in Bangkok and has spread to 74 out of Thailand’s 77 provinces, as of yesterday. Health inspectors believe the new and more contagious UK strain of Covid-19, named B117, arrived in Thailand from Cambodia through migrants.

But as the CCSA has largely placed restrictions in the hands of each provincial government, many are confused about what guidelines they must follow upon entering certain provinces. Northern Thailand’s Lampang province, for example, orders visitors from Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom and Chiang Mai to report immediately to local health authorities or officials, but it does not require them to undergo quarantine for 2 weeks if test results are negative.

Visitors are advised to check updated information at moicovid.com as the rules are different in each province. So far, 42 provinces have imposed self-quarantine. Phichit, Lampang and Ubon Ratchathani were the latest to join 39 other provinces imposing a variety of restrictions on people entering their provinces.

Visitors to the website posted multiple questions, mostly on whether they needed to be quarantined.

Provinces that impose self-quarantine or other requirements on travellers:

NORTH

  • Chiang Mai
  • Kamphaeng Phet
  • Lampang
  • Lamphun
  • Nan
  • Phayao
  • Phetchabun
  • Phichit
  • Phitsanulok
  • Phrae
  • Tak
  • Uttaradit

NORTHEAST

  • Amnat Charoen
  • Bung Kan
  • Buri Ram
  • Chaiyaphum
  • Khon Kaen
  • Maha Sarakham
  • Mukdahan
  • Nakhon Phanom
  • Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bua Lam Phu
  • Nong Khai
  • Sakon Nakhon
  • Ubon Ratchathani
  • Udon Thani
  • Yasothon

CENTAL AND EAST

  • Chai Nat
  • Lop Buri
  • Nakhon Sawan
  • Sa Kaeo
  • Saraburi
  • Sing Buri
  • Uthai Thani

SOUTH

  • Chumphon
  • Narathiwat
  • Pattani
  • Phangnga
  • Ranong
  • Satun
  • Songkhla
  • Trang

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

Keep in contact with Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following Thaiger.

Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism1 month ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket1 month ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending