Connect with us


Lots of tourists in Phuket, but they aren’t spending much



PHUKET TOWN: Arrival figures during this high season remain high, but tourists visiting Phuket seem to be spending less, industry insiders say.

Bhuritt Maswongsa, vice-president of the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA), said that ‘per head’ expenditure seems to be much lower than in the 2007-2008 high season, the last time Phuket enjoyed a normal high season – the 2008-2009 high season was largely negated by crippling airport closures.

Australia and Europe continue to be key source countries during the high season, with the Russian market also performing well, he said.

The industry has also benefited from new direct charter flights from the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai, while there are also 24 direct flights to Phuket from Hong Kong every week, he said.

Mr Bhuritt said the overall composition of inbound tourist figures has shifted, with regional tourists now making up about 50 percent of arrivals, many on package tours.

Europe, once the ‘bread-and-butter’ market, has also seen a shift towards more package tourists and independent visitors with limited budgets, he said.

“More tourists who fly in from Europe are now arriving on package tours. Because of the economic situation there, they are spending much less than they used to,” he said.

Hotel occupancy rates are currently about 90 percent overall, based on combined statistics from the PTA and Thai Hotel Association Southern Chapter from over 700 accommodation establishments on the island, he said.

Advance bookings indicate occupancy rates should remain high through to the end of February, but all bets are off after that, Mr Bhuritt said.

“It is difficult to know what will happen from March onwards, but it doesn’t look good.”

People tend to book less far in advance and reservations are coming in very slowly after February, he said.

Individual bar owners in Patong are in general agreement that tourists are watching their purse strings more than in years past.

Vichien Plachumpan, who runs the Crows Nest bar on Soi Sea Dragon said, “There are a lot of customers, but they aren’t spending nearly as much.”

Income at his bar is down about 40 percent year-on-year, he said.

Somphet Moosophon, who runs a pub on Soi Crocodile and is a former president of the Phuket Entertainment Business Association, estimated his revenue was down about 30 to 40 percent year-on-year.

He said there are more tourists from Arab speaking countries and the subcontinent visiting Soi Crocodile, which is well known for its scores of go-go dancing ladyboys.

Ajin ‘Joy’ Kingkaew, who runs the One More bar on Soi Easy, said this high season has been “very good”, but it is her first high season running the business.

“It’s much better than the low season, that’s for sure,” she said.

Lindsay Turpin, proprietor of the Piccadilly Bar on Soi Kebsup, said, “Everybody is saying that there are a lot of different people here now. That may be so, but they are not the big-spending guys in the bars. I think there are more Koreans and Japanese about, but the bars aren’t really their scene.”

“If you walk down Soi Bangla it may look like there are a lot of people about, but honestly it is not as many as in years past,” he added.

— Stephen Michael Fein


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | 9 year olds smoke cannabis on Pattaya Beach in Thailand

Economy5 hours ago

Thai baht soars to six-month high against US dollar

Pattaya5 hours ago

Motorcycle taxi riders rally against unlicensed ride-share app drivers in Pattaya

Sponsored13 hours ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Pollution6 hours ago

Over 100 tonnes of garbage estimated near Phuket Fishing Port

Thailand6 hours ago

Stop giving monkeys cigarettes, beg locals in Lop Buri, Thailand

Thailand6 hours ago

World Cup broadcasting soap opera drama rumbles on

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Transport6 hours ago

Thai Vietjet plans new routes to China, India, Japan, Vietnam

Crime7 hours ago

Police arrest weight loss pill executive for causing 4 deaths in Thailand

Phang Nga7 hours ago

Phang Nga officials find more leatherback turtle eggs

Tourism7 hours ago

Thai AirAsia Melbourne and Sydney connections take to the air

Bangkok8 hours ago

Fireworks to dazzle Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River area on New Year’s Eve

Medical8 hours ago

Resurgence of AIDS in Thailand overshadows UNAIDS summit

Phuket8 hours ago

Thai VietJet cancels Phuket – Bangkok flight last minute over 1 extra passenger

Food9 hours ago

Thailand’s top cheesemaker toasts his own success

Crime9 hours ago

New details unfolding over alleged assault by Pattaya loan sharks

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11