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

Caitlin Ashworth

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

    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

      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

        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

          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

            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

    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

      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

        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

        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

    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

      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

    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

      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

        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

          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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    September 25, 2020 at 9:49 am

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

  12. Avatar

    just a thought

    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

    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

      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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine

Maya Taylor

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Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Thai government is to compile a list of countries considered “low risk” for the Covid-19 virus, as it considers a reduction in the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals. Nation Thailand reports that, once finalised, the Public Health Ministry will submit its list to the Interior Ministry, who will use it to decide the criteria for reduced quarantine.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says there must be clear criteria for the admission of foreign visitors to the Kingdom. Currently, all those arriving must carry out 14 days’ quarantine, regardless of the Covid-19 situation in their country of origin.

It’s understood the government’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration is considering a proposal from the private sector to ease up on some entry restrictions for foreign investors and businesspeople, including a reduction in the quarantine period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Permanent residency, changes to quarantine period – Government mulls strategies to revive economy

Maya Taylor

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Permanent residency, changes to quarantine period – Government mulls strategies to revive economy | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pracha Hariraksapita / Shutterstock

“The government is considering offering permanent residency to those buying condos in the Kingdom.”

Energy minister and deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow has outlined a number of strategies the government hopes will help the Thai economy recover from the Covid-19 fallout. Permanent residency for some condo purchases, changes to the mandatory quarantine and incentives for foreign investment are all under discussion.

The Eastern Economic Corridor, the special economic zone covering the eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, continues to eye foreign investors with a number of large infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

One of those is a high-speed rail link between the 3 closest airports to Bangkok – U-Tapao, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports. Also in the works is a 290 billion baht project to develop U-Tapao Airport, with plans for a new, third terminal, and an aviation training centre, among other facilities. Last year Airbus pulled out of a multi billion baht joint project with Thai Airways to develop a maintenance hub for the region.

Supattanapong adds that the Board of Investment is considering a range of incentives to encourage foreign investors to purchase property in Thailand. The government is considering offering permanent residency to those buying condos in the Kingdom, provided they don’t mortgage, transfer, or sell the units within 5 years of purchase.

In relation to foreign arrivals, he says the government will clarify its plans on any further re-opening to tourists and investors, in addition to any potential reduction in quarantine. He adds that if the current 14 day quarantine period is to be reduced, this would only apply to those coming from countries considered “low risk” for Covid-19. It’s understood the Public Health Ministry is working on categorising countries into low, medium, and high risk, in order to determine the new mandatory quarantine period for international arrivals.

Officials are also considering how foreigners can be encouraged to up their spending from the current average of 50,000 baht per person to 100,000 baht. Since the closure of Thailand’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism sector, once welcoming around 40 million visitors a year and generating 3 trillion baht in revenue, has been decimated.

Meanwhile, the government continues to target domestic tourists and residents through a number of stimulus measures, including a recently announced co-payment scheme aimed at boosting spending.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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