Domestic vacationers, not international, will be majority of Phuket hotel guests

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A report by one real estate consultancy says domestic vacationers, not international tourists, will probably make up the majority of Phuket hotel guests in 2022. After a peak of 5.3 million arrivals at Phuket hotels in 2019, the arrivals dropped by 80% in 2020 to only 1.1 million. Constantly changing Covid-19 policies and confusion over them hinder travellers from booking reservations, according to a report by a real estate consultancy. The report said this is particularly true of European travellers, since they often plan trips a few months in advance.

International travellers used to make up the bulk of Phuket hotel guests. The average number of foreign visitors per day in 2019 was 14,800. That number plummeted to an average of 500 in July 2021. The “Phuket Sandbox” in which foreigners in Phuket don’t have to quarantine, helped slowly bring tourism back to Phuket, and the daily average peaked at 2,800 in December. But this is still dramatically lower than pre-Covid times. With the massive decline in travel, many Phuket hotels had to temporarily close, especially in the first half of 2021. Others changed their business models to market to domestic travellers with promotions and discounts.

The silver lining is, the average occupancy of luxury and upscale hotels might increase 20% to 30% in 2022. This is partly thanks to some hotels reopening. Numbers in the report indicate that hotel investors and operators are still optimistic about Phuket’s hospitality industry recovering.

 

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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