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Economy

70% of Phuket’s tourism businesses are closed, many for good

Caitlin Ashworth

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FILE PHOTO

Most tourism businesses in Phuket have closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they probably won’t be up and running again until foreign tourists are let back in Thailand. Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew says around 70% of tourism businesses have closed, most of them just temporarily, but some have shut down permanently. But the statistics are not quite that simple, with the east side of the island, largely inhabited by locals with the central business district of Phuket Town and some of the more popular expat towns, doing far better than the tourist magnets of the west coast. The Thaiger estimates that on the west coast the number would exceed 90%.

Before the pandemic, tourism to Phuket brought in 450 billion baht a year with 400 billion baht from foreign visitors while the other 50 billion baht was from domestic tourists. Thailand has been trying to increase domestic tourism to help revive the industry after the pandemic. Phuket’s governor says it helps, but not enough.

“Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”

66.8% of tourism businesses in Phuket have closed temporarily while 2.8% have closed permanently, according to data by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency. (Again the percentage along the west coast is MUCH higher – just take a drive through Paton, Kat, Karon). Phuket’s governor is trying figure out how to recover the economy. And fast.

“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure.”

While many businesses are closed, the governor says Phuket is “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists.” The governor says he can’t give an answer to when foreign tourists will arrive in Phuket, but he claims they’ve “prepared every step,” from checking in at the airport to hotel quarantine. They’re just going to install some new temperature check machines at the Phuket International Airport and review the procedures for welcoming the tourists.

“We have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups.”

At the moment, only 3 venues in Phuket have been approved to operate as alternative state quarantine facilities. Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas has 100 rooms available, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket has 36 villas and Trisara resort has 15 villas. All are 5 star venues with a commensurate 5 star cost.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Avatar

    patty

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    The headline is true for the first 4 months since April, but now it should read – Government shuts down 70% of Phuket’s tourism business

    • Avatar

      Latecomer

      Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm

      True. Actually – govt overreaction to a moderate flu epidemic has caused major economic breakdown with enormous consequences for decades to come. In the meantime, they have not changed anything in this harmful approach and continue with the destruction of national wealth.
      Note – exactly the same could and should be said for the government of UK and France

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, September 25, 2020 at 1:55 am

        “exactly the same could and should be said for the government of UK and France”

        Not quite the same.

        The UK and France have a Covid-19 death rate of 40-50 per day, doubling every week – so if that continues that’s 200,000 deaths per day in three months.

        Thailand has a death rate of … umm … zero.

        • Avatar

          Schwytz

          Friday, September 25, 2020 at 5:43 pm

          What are you on about? “200 000 deaths”? What is wrong with you? “if that continues..” – if what continues? Do you have any idea of proportion? Do you know how many people die every single day, of all causes combined? Germany, for example, 2100. France or UK bit under 2000. Every day, on average. Heart, cancer, traffic, etc. So, if there is 40 deaths by any cause, what to do? Stop living, stop moving around, stop working?

          • Avatar

            Sami

            Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 12:43 am

            Schwyz…please do not waster your energy and respond to Isaan..he/she/it is an imbecile person who does not know anything…

  2. Avatar

    Glenn

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    with a total number of 59 deaths in 8.5 months and 99.95% of the population never even having got the sniffles from CV, folks, it is not CV that has destroyed the Phuket economy, it was the government. Wake up.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, September 25, 2020 at 2:01 am

      “with a total number of 59 deaths in 8.5 months …”

      … that’s not much more than the UK’s death rate from Covid-19 every day …

      … maybe Thailand’s got it right …

      • Avatar

        Schwytz

        Friday, September 25, 2020 at 5:47 pm

        No, they got it all wrong. But they are not alone. Maybe there are 59 Covid deaths, but at a price of suicides going up, family problems and violence, economic misery, reduced revenues and budgets including health budgets /= more deaths/.
        By the way, traffic deaths in Thailand are around 20 000 a year. What has been done about it? Nothing. Zero. That means that almost every day on Thai roads more people die than all Covid deaths in total.

      • Avatar

        Patrick Nouvel

        Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 10:41 am

        Would be interesting to know soon about the statistics ( real one) on pneumonia, respiratory problems, seasonal flu of 2020 agains previous years, those 59 casualties already got the name of 1st Covid wave, when having 4 to 5 times less thant past yearly seasonal flu casualties only.. Interesting also to get REAL results of suicides numbers against past years ratios, Good job!!!

  3. Avatar

    Prof. JPD

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    The cheapest quarantine options in foresaid hotels you can get is a package (16 days/15 nights) for approx. Euro 6.000,–,…plus the costs for medical checks and tests. In my opinion definitely not the best way to attract any future tourists.

    • Avatar

      Dave

      Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:57 am

      All airports in Europe are collapsed with private yets waiting for thailand open their borders to fly and pay those 3,000 euros for being locked up for 14 days in a quarantine hotel.
      sure success!

  4. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Even more businesses will shut down as you force the foreign tourists you have here to leave. We are here, we are virus free, feel safe here but do not feel welcomed anymore. Like your neighbor Malaysia extend all VISA s at least until 31 Dec. If you want have us pay the extension fees when we are able and feel safe to leave. A simple and hassle free solution. If you don’t feel anything for us at least think of your immigration workers who are being overwhelmed and overworked.

    • Avatar

      patty

      Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      Sorry to hear about your situation. As a Thai, I am embarrassed at the way this idiotic government has handled all situations relating to the tourism industry. But as you can tell already, it’s very clear that they don’t give a rats ass about tourists. They don’t even care about their own citizens

      • Avatar

        Sami

        Friday, September 25, 2020 at 12:38 am

        Patty…If there were more sensible Thai people like you then the situation would not have been so disastrous…I have read some of the most stupid comments from other Thai people on this website…

        • Avatar

          patty

          Friday, September 25, 2020 at 12:09 pm

          Sami – Thanks mate. I would put some of that down to lack of education and understanding. And also being brainwashed by the media and the dictator. But maybe also they are the ones not affected by the pandemic. I have many Thai friends and they all share the same sentiment as me in regards to the government and how they are handling this situation. We all think they’re doing a piss poor job and basically want Prayut out. I grew up overseas as you can tell so I have a farang mentality.

  5. Avatar

    Thomas

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t feel any sorry anymore. They want it like that. As long as the Thai people let themselves treat like that by their own “elected” government than so it will be. At least the young have understood. And why would domestic tourism work? Most businesses are closed, why go in the first place. Domestic & international tourism are complementing each other. I guess this economic thinking is to advanced for them.

  6. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    The closed permanently percentage will keep increasing by the month . in fact it’s probably already higher than they think. Rents don’t stop even if you have closed your doors, many business won’t reopen since they don’t have the money to pay the back rent. When tourist start to finally return many sections of Thailand will look very different, something out of a Hollywood apocalyptic movie. Business will return it’s just not going to happen overnight. I miss Thailand but also feel for my friends who are struggling.

  7. Avatar

    lou

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    BEST BIZ TO OPEN AT LOW RENTAL RATES, an hanging-ropes factory, sure few staff can find jobs, good for the happy few, then clients will soon queue up, at back side of the retail shop’s side, the entrepreneur could even open an after sales service with last drinks and gibet for little extra costs. + care of the body including ceremony…count me as client soon if the quarantine policy not cancelled like in many countries now ….

  8. Avatar

    RR

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    I have been in Phuket once, sincerely the west part is ok for sunset, but everything else is crap. West part is nice with the old town and market.

  9. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, September 25, 2020 at 12:23 am

    No they are not sincere in their desire to attract tourists back, especially when they charge over a £100 an night for quarantine. by the way the quarantine is 14 days and they sell 16 days.
    Why to make more money?
    Remember this is for over two weeks. Any hotel selling a room for over two weeks would reduce the rate.
    This is a rubbish deal to start with made worse by Thai greed exploiting the situation.
    Do the This pay this rate? I doubt it.

  10. Avatar

    Mike

    Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:18 am

    No one is going to come anyway. Even if the borders are opened. The vast majority of tourists get roughly 20 days annual leave and they will use at most 14 days on a summer or winter holiday. They simply won’t quarantine for that period. And most of the businesses that cater to tourists will be closed – restaurants etc and of course – the girlie bars.

    This is a real tragedy now. Some Thai friends of mine are really struggling to cope. One person I know has had to get a job in a factory and is working 7 days a week to make ends meet.

  11. Avatar

    Henry Ford

    Friday, September 25, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Let’s hope the rip off taxis are the ones closed permanently.

  12. Avatar

    just a thought

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 5:27 am

    Probably the plan is to destroy tourist industry and then buy all the hotels and restaurants with huge discount by people close to junta

  13. Avatar

    Adrian Williams

    Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:48 am

    I spent 3000usd a month while in Thailand during covid from March 11 to Sept 11 . 6 months . I was forced to leave as I won’t and never have overstayed I respect laws as a visitor even if they are stupid ..this virus has shown the planet how poor our world management is..everywhere but the way I saw Thailand suffer was without doubt driven by third world ignorant and totally inadequate power crazed street knowledge removed idiots that live to fight for personal glory and Thier own pocket . The country needs a change top to bottom ..but I think we all know the top elite lifestyles it won’t happen. My heart goes to the real Thai people and my friends that are now victims of a dictatorship pretending to be something everyone knows their not .

    • Avatar

      patty

      Monday, September 28, 2020 at 11:34 am

      Adrian – well said and agreed 100%

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

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Economy

Thailand increases durian exports to China by 14% this year

Avatar

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Thailand has exported 14% more durian to China in this year’s first quarter over the same period last year. The Trade Negotiations Department Director General says Thai durian auctions in the first quarter secured 186 million, making up 88% of the total amount of Thai durian exports to world markets.

Last year, Thailand exported US1.5 billion worth of durian to China, a 78% increase from 2019. China’s share accounted for 73% of total Thai durian exports to world markets. 18 countries have free trade agreements for fruit with Thailand. Thailand is actively exporting fresh fruit with its top buyers being Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The most popular fruits are the national delicacy of durian, along with mango, mangosteen and longan.

Despite the increases in durian exports, farmers have been worried about Covid-19′s effect on the industry. Earlier in 2021 health authorities in China circulated a press release stating that imported cherries from Chile had been tested and found to have Covid-19 contamination. This statement prompted a huge drop in Chilean cherry prices. Thai growers are worried the same might happen to durian imports. As the seriousness of the Coronavirus in Thailand reaches new widespread levels, one instance of a durian container being linked to Covid-19 could spur a total ban on importing fruit from Thailand.

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SOURCE: MENAFN

 

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Economy

GDP forecast dropped to 1-2% with best, middle and worst case scenarios

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Economic predictions continue to fall with Covid-19 spread and slow vaccination.

Mass vaccination will be the key stop the slump in economic growth after the Bank of Thailand revised their 2021 GDP forecast to between 1 – 2%. They had previously estimated a 3% growth in the gross domestic product but are now creating tiered predictions of a base level, worse situation, and a worst-case scenario, according to the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The base GDP forecast, which you could call a best-case scenario, expects a 2% growth predicated on some rosy numbers like foreign tourism growing to 1.2 million people and unemployment staying around 2.7 million. It also operates on the assumption that Thailand reaches 100 million vaccines distributed by the end of the year which would allow herd immunity by the beginning of 2022.

The middle ground prediction is a 1.5% GDP growth if 64.6 million vaccines are administered, delaying herd immunity to the third quarter of 2022. It also allows for unemployment to grow by another 100,000 people, and tourism to reach only 1 million foreign visitors. If we don’t get this tourism growth and unemployment and underemployment expands to 2.9 million or above, and we distribute less than 64.4 million jabs, the worst-case scenario would be only a 1% GDP growth and herd immunity not being possible until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

The worst-case scenario would be a 5.7% drop in the GDP this year, a loss of 890 billion baht. The middle ground forecast would cost about 460 billion Baht, about a 3% drop in Thailand GDP.

The BOT had originally forecast stronger GDP growth but reduced from 3.2% to 3% before dropping their predictions to the 1% to 2% figure. With the devastating effect of the third wave of Covid-19 being much more far-reaching than originally expected, this new prediction was released now instead of when it was scheduled in June. They did state that government economic stimulus packages could still have a positive effect and allow the economy to grow 3 to 5.7%, assuming mass vaccination goes into effect quickly.

The tourism sector and small-to-medium-sized enterprises would be the most affected by the delays in vaccination. The Monetary Policy Committee stressed that the economy hinges on the speedy importing and administering of vaccines. Faster vaccination will prevent mutations, new strains, and new outbreaks, as well as allowing international borders to fully reopen more quickly and more successfully. They stress that government efforts to support the economy must continue as the government has recently announced they will extend cash stimulus programs and allot money to more low-income assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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