Island’s tourism tide turns
PHUKET: Latest airport arrival figures and resort occupancy rates indicate that Phuket’s tourism trade is recovering rapidly from the Sars scare, with some hotels already planning to hang up “House Full” signs soon. Official statistics for the first 10 days in August show that 8.7% more international visitors flew to Bangkok compared with the same period last year, an increase certain to be reflected in Phuket. The Deputy Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Phuket Office, Napasorn Kakai, said the overall average occupancy rate on the island had already risen to 40% and was still rising. She attributed the speedy comeback to discounting and the Unseen Thailand campaign. Thais were traveling more, along with tour groups from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Hotels that laid off workers when the virus crisis kept tourists at home from April to July are now re-hiring. Although other hotels did not lay staff off, many did ask them to take leave. One of these was the JW Marriott Phuket and Spa. Now, however, said the Marriott’s Account Director of Sales and Marketing, Chompoonut Suntornpong, staff were being recalled. The same is true of hotels in the Laguna Phuket complex. Prapa Haemin, Marketing Manager of Laguna Resorts & Hotels, said, “Our occupancy rates are about 90% already.” Pavinee Chaiyaporn, Resident Manager of Kamala Bay Garden Resort, which has been open for three years, told the Gazette that this August was the best yet.
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