EconomyPhuketTourism

Government pledges help for Phuket tourism industry

PHOTO: A near deserted Layan beach, north Phuket, yesterday.

As Phuket’s tourism industry continues to fight for survival amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the PM is ordering an advisory team to finish work on recovery proposals received from the private sector and submit them to the government’s Covid-19 task force for approval.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says this is expected to happen shortly, as he acknowledged the severe impact on Phuket’s economy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Thailand’s borders.

“Covid-19 has delivered a heavy blow to Phuket’s tourism, as 90% of the sector’s annual revenue is generated by foreign tourists.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, there were between 170,000 and 180,000 people employed in Phuket’s tourism industry, prior to Covid-19. That number is now believed to be around 80,000, according to data from the Labour Ministry.

The Phuket Tourist Association says the island is expected to lose between 200 and 320 billion baht of tourism revenue this year. In 2019, over 14 million foreign visitors brought in 470 billion baht for the province, 90% of its tourism revenue. By contrast, PTA president, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, says Phuket has reported 150 billion baht in revenue during the first 10 months of 2020, of which 100 billion came from foreigners and 50 billion from domestic tourists.

Revenue is down 80% on the same period last year, with Bhummikitti warning that most businesses in the tourism sector will not survive without government aid. He points out that the province has 1,900 rooms available for alternative local state quarantine and is ready to receive international visitors.

Meanwhile, the government is considering a number of short-term measures to revive Phuket’s tourism sector, including extending its domestic travel stimulus package to December 2021. Officials are also looking at possible improvements to the “We Travel Together” scheme, including increasing the Monday to Thursday hotel subsidy from 40% to 50%.

The PM and other government officials recently visited Phuket to hear suggestions from local officials and business operators. One suggestion was to expand the use of tourism coupons currently used for food, to subsidise tour packages, car hire, and spa bookings. Officials are also considering extending the current subsidy on air tickets to include car hire and fuel. Meanwhile, a request has been put to the Labour Ministry to contribute 7,500 baht a month for each worker in hotels, spas, and tour companies, to help bosses keep them employed.

Danucha says if approval is granted to improve the domestic travel stimulus campaign and subsidise workers’ salaries, this should not only apply to Phuket, but should be rolled out nationwide. Meanwhile, officials are also looking at transforming Phuket into a leading medical tourism destination, with plans for a multi-billion baht medical hub just north of the airport.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. The 7,500 baht per month idea is good but only helps a portion of those effected. The we travel together scheme is an already failed idea. A slight increase is better than nothing but will mostly help those in cities near Bangkok as before. To help Phuket the plan needs to target them specifically but then that’s unfair to other places hurt just as badly. Everything else is long term and does nothing to wean Phuket off of tourism. Honestly I don’t see a lot of help coming from these ideas.

    1. As you say, it would be unfair to other places and to others to pay 7,500 baht a month just to those affected in Phuket and the government simply can’t afford it – the 5,000 baht a month lasted for three months and Thailand simply doesn’t have the money.

      … and, yes, the “we travel together” scheme is much like the “eat out to help out” scheme in the UK – a nice idea, but doomed.

      1. Issan John

        The “eat out to help” scheme was very successful financially compared to what had happened in the months before the scheme but yes the doom it created by increasing the number of cases and thus more deaths was a disaster.

        Still, there is hope on the horizon for the West at least as we will probably be the first to get the new virus inoculations which are as of today on the horizon.

        In six months’ time, we in the West should be out of it.

        Still, Thailand is developing its own drug, you might get a sniff of one in ten years’ time, but it probably will not work.

  2. The Thailand Prime minister, Mister Chan O Cha Cha (a ballroom dancing enthusiast) springs into action and orders the Phucket advisory committees to advise.
    They advise they cannot yet as they have not decided whether to have chicken fried rice, or spicy scrimp soup at break time.
    The chairman announces this looking wise, grim, and sincere, which is hard with just one face.
    The prime minister states severely that they should stop delaying to make more expenses, and advise on Phuket!
    Baht signs vanish from their eyes and they nod like demented woodpeckers.

  3. With any quarantine obligations, unless for 3 days, time to check best tests, then set a safiest countries allowed list for it, othe meaures will either cost too much for liitle help or be meaningless. Whatever best tourism will suffer for at least 2 or 3 years.

    1. Exactly. There is no solution, as global tourism will not return for at least two years; even trying to cut that short by letting in fewer numbers will only make the problem worse elsewhere, for other businesses.

      It’s happened and there’s no way out, for Thailand or anyone else.

      1. The world’s major airlines are now predicting 5 years for longhaul to recover minimum and are not putting staff on furlough or unpaid leave,they are letting them go.

        Selecting,training and maintaining currency for crews on wide body’s is a long expensive process.

        The company’s have huge amounts of money tied up in these former crew members.they can not be easily or quickly replaced and it is no simple matter to simply recall them and re type rate them after 6 months of not flying.

        numbers for the major airlines that feed Thailand are now up to around the 50 percent mark with a similar number of aircraft placed in long term storage many destined never to fly again.

        the longer it goes on the more crews and aircraft go in direct proportion.(each aircraft normaly has 6-8 crews to get an idea of the numbers involved)

        The terrorist attacks in the usa seriously damaged civil aviation for 5 years worldwide.

        I personally think the global recovery for long haul travel especially tourism related will take a least the same amount of time probably much longer to recover after this.

        My personal view is it will be 10 years minimum to recover subject to
        No more catastrophic events occurring.

        Obviously I do not know the future,just my 2 bahts worth.

        Anybody who thinks there is going to be a mad rush to the airport the day this ends is almost certainly being very unrealistic.

        I sincerely hope I am 100 percent wrong.

    2. But which countries are seen as safe?

      We are having countries that are having sky-high cases and we have some countries where corona is non-existing (according to their governments).

      I do not believe that any country can be seen as safe.

      So as more people has mentioned, we have to someway learn to live with corona.
      The immunity has to be build up during the next 5 – 10 years, just like the ordinary flu with help from both vaccines and infection people among.

      1. Fiddling while Rome burns continues.
        People with retirement visa and or homes can’t return.
        For me the Thai authorities have always been anti foreigner particularly westerners on many things.
        If it wasn’t such a lovely country many would have left a long time ago.
        We all know what counts…..money

  4. There are some truly ridiculous comments on this site. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had some wonderful times in Phuket and that I came to know the people there (the ordinary man and woman and their children) I wouldn’t bother. But I did come to know and appreciate these people. Phuket is an island. There is one land link only (not too difficult for the Thai police to patrol). So open Phuket up to people from low risk countries!! PCR test before arrival. Negative test….enjoy your holiday! Positive test…. ASQ Quarantine! It’s that simple…even the PM can make it happen without a junket to Phuket. Let’s face it…these guys are soldiers, not diplomats or leaders….

    1. No farang no Phuket as I once stupidly said to an Aus/Thai girl she went birko until I explained that I had first been in Phuket in 1964, and believe me there was really very little but the farangs changed all that and Phuket became well Phuket. What will Phuket become now. A ghost town I hope not

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14 Comments

  1. The 7,500 baht per month idea is good but only helps a portion of those effected. The we travel together scheme is an already failed idea. A slight increase is better than nothing but will mostly help those in cities near Bangkok as before. To help Phuket the plan needs to target them specifically but then that’s unfair to other places hurt just as badly. Everything else is long term and does nothing to wean Phuket off of tourism. Honestly I don’t see a lot of help coming from these ideas.

    1. As you say, it would be unfair to other places and to others to pay 7,500 baht a month just to those affected in Phuket and the government simply can’t afford it – the 5,000 baht a month lasted for three months and Thailand simply doesn’t have the money.

      … and, yes, the “we travel together” scheme is much like the “eat out to help out” scheme in the UK – a nice idea, but doomed.

      1. Issan John

        The “eat out to help” scheme was very successful financially compared to what had happened in the months before the scheme but yes the doom it created by increasing the number of cases and thus more deaths was a disaster.

        Still, there is hope on the horizon for the West at least as we will probably be the first to get the new virus inoculations which are as of today on the horizon.

        In six months’ time, we in the West should be out of it.

        Still, Thailand is developing its own drug, you might get a sniff of one in ten years’ time, but it probably will not work.

  2. The Thailand Prime minister, Mister Chan O Cha Cha (a ballroom dancing enthusiast) springs into action and orders the Phucket advisory committees to advise.
    They advise they cannot yet as they have not decided whether to have chicken fried rice, or spicy scrimp soup at break time.
    The chairman announces this looking wise, grim, and sincere, which is hard with just one face.
    The prime minister states severely that they should stop delaying to make more expenses, and advise on Phuket!
    Baht signs vanish from their eyes and they nod like demented woodpeckers.

  3. With any quarantine obligations, unless for 3 days, time to check best tests, then set a safiest countries allowed list for it, othe meaures will either cost too much for liitle help or be meaningless. Whatever best tourism will suffer for at least 2 or 3 years.

    1. Exactly. There is no solution, as global tourism will not return for at least two years; even trying to cut that short by letting in fewer numbers will only make the problem worse elsewhere, for other businesses.

      It’s happened and there’s no way out, for Thailand or anyone else.

      1. The world’s major airlines are now predicting 5 years for longhaul to recover minimum and are not putting staff on furlough or unpaid leave,they are letting them go.

        Selecting,training and maintaining currency for crews on wide body’s is a long expensive process.

        The company’s have huge amounts of money tied up in these former crew members.they can not be easily or quickly replaced and it is no simple matter to simply recall them and re type rate them after 6 months of not flying.

        numbers for the major airlines that feed Thailand are now up to around the 50 percent mark with a similar number of aircraft placed in long term storage many destined never to fly again.

        the longer it goes on the more crews and aircraft go in direct proportion.(each aircraft normaly has 6-8 crews to get an idea of the numbers involved)

        The terrorist attacks in the usa seriously damaged civil aviation for 5 years worldwide.

        I personally think the global recovery for long haul travel especially tourism related will take a least the same amount of time probably much longer to recover after this.

        My personal view is it will be 10 years minimum to recover subject to
        No more catastrophic events occurring.

        Obviously I do not know the future,just my 2 bahts worth.

        Anybody who thinks there is going to be a mad rush to the airport the day this ends is almost certainly being very unrealistic.

        I sincerely hope I am 100 percent wrong.

    2. But which countries are seen as safe?

      We are having countries that are having sky-high cases and we have some countries where corona is non-existing (according to their governments).

      I do not believe that any country can be seen as safe.

      So as more people has mentioned, we have to someway learn to live with corona.
      The immunity has to be build up during the next 5 – 10 years, just like the ordinary flu with help from both vaccines and infection people among.

      1. Fiddling while Rome burns continues.
        People with retirement visa and or homes can’t return.
        For me the Thai authorities have always been anti foreigner particularly westerners on many things.
        If it wasn’t such a lovely country many would have left a long time ago.
        We all know what counts…..money

  4. There are some truly ridiculous comments on this site. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had some wonderful times in Phuket and that I came to know the people there (the ordinary man and woman and their children) I wouldn’t bother. But I did come to know and appreciate these people. Phuket is an island. There is one land link only (not too difficult for the Thai police to patrol). So open Phuket up to people from low risk countries!! PCR test before arrival. Negative test….enjoy your holiday! Positive test…. ASQ Quarantine! It’s that simple…even the PM can make it happen without a junket to Phuket. Let’s face it…these guys are soldiers, not diplomats or leaders….

    1. No farang no Phuket as I once stupidly said to an Aus/Thai girl she went birko until I explained that I had first been in Phuket in 1964, and believe me there was really very little but the farangs changed all that and Phuket became well Phuket. What will Phuket become now. A ghost town I hope not

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