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Leading real estate consultancy says 2021 not looking good for Phuket hotels

Maya Taylor




An independent real estate consultancy is predicting a bleak year for those involved in the hotel industry on the southern island of Phuket. According to a Nation Thailand report, Carlos Martinez from Knight Frank Thailand says foreign arrivals in Phuket have plummeted by 80%, from over 5.3 million in 2019 to just 1 million in 2020.

Hotel occupancy rates on the island have nose-dived, with some hotels having to suspend operations, while others try to lure domestic travellers with steep discounts and other special offers. On July 15, the Thai government launched a domestic tourism stimulus campaign, in an attempt to get Thais travelling around the country. Domestic tourists can avail of a 40% subsidy on the cost of hotel room and airfares, but, despite this, the number of domestic travellers in Phuket has dropped by 64% year-on-year.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc around the world during the second half of 2020, the occupancy rate in Phuket’s luxury hotels dropped to just 14%. The upscale properties that decided to stay open were forced to slash their prices, with the average daily rate falling 7% year-on-year, to just 3,750 baht.

Around 24% of the island’s luxury hotels are in the Patong beach area, with 15% in Karon, 14% in Bang Tao, 13% in the Kata beach area, and 10% in Kamala. Most of these coastal areas are like ghost towns, compared to how bustling they were at the same time in 2019.

While the same goes for other tourist destinations in Thailand, there’s no doubt that Phuket is one of the hardest-hit spots. The airport has been open for domestic flights since June 2020 but recorded only 775,118 domestic arrivals in the second half of 2020, down 57% year-on-year. Domestic tourists did not stay long either, averaging just 1.8 days, making little difference to hotels on the island.

Currently, the future’s not bright for Phuket’s luxury hotels, with average occupancy expected to remain below 25% and average daily rates expected to stay low during the first half of this year. The resurgence of Covid-19 in late December, just as Thailand appeared to have successfully suppressed the virus, has not helped matters. And with China imposing restrictions that prevent its nationals travelling internationally, there is no end in sight just yet.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    Wolfgang Meusburger

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:14 am

    hope nobody has to pay for this report!!!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:28 am

      Investigative reporting at it’s best – who’d have guessed? 😮

      • Avatar

        J West

        Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:35 am

        All due respect to KF analysts but…” One million” foreign tourists to Phuket in 2020???? Weren’t the last national numbers around 1200 per month range? Correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Avatar


          Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:43 am

          The 2020 numbers would have included half of the high season (Jan and Feb), and whoever stuck around till the hotels shut down. The entire country had 6.9M international tourist for 2020, with 6.7M being those who came in the first three months.

  2. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:31 am

    The lack of vaccinations doesn’t help either.

  3. Avatar


    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    I’ll give you an exclusive thaiger 2022 ain’t looking that good either and all the squalor and misery it will bring to millions of poor thais if quarantine isn’t lifted you can buy me a beer I’ll not charge you for that exclusive 555

  4. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    hEYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! Nooooooo SHIT SHERLOCK!!!!

  5. Avatar


    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Thailand is doomed if they keep holding to “zero” infection policy. 70 dead of 70 million is a joke, right? One out of a million will die…omg, the humanity. Thailand is a transit point for many like me. A month in and I’m out to somewhere else. The problem is that no in SE Asia is taking the lead. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia — all basically holding to zero infection policy. It will never happen. There will never be zero infections.

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