Connect with us


Phuket: More tourists, fewer baht



PHUKET: With hotel occupancy rates on the island currently reported at around 90 percent, hoteliers and other tourism business operators find themselves for the first time in two years unable to complain about a lack of tourists.

This is obviously good news, but businesses on the island are finding that strong arrival figures haven’t translated into the kind of revenue enjoyed during past high seasons. Many report income down by 30 to 40 percent compared to the 2007-2008 season.

Although this is an improvement over the 2008-2009 high season, which was wiped out by the takeover of Bangkok’s two airports, business operators are complaining that the hoped-for bumper profits needed to get them though the next low season simply aren’t there.

There are several reasons for this spending drop, the most important of which is the state of the global economy. The downturn has left European tourists, traditionally Phuket’s bread-and-butter market, forced to cut back on expenditure while on vacation.

The demographics of inbound tourism to Phuket are changing as well. With the expansion in the number of direct scheduled and direct charter flights to the island from many new destinations in the region, Asian tourists now make up half of all foreign visitors.

In response to these trends, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it is trying to get tourists to part with more cash during their stays here.

Although it claims the new focus will be on expenditure and not arrival figures, the Tourism and Sports Ministry has nevertheless set a nationwide goal of attracting 16 million tourists in 2010, up two million from last year.

The TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, recently said the agency will take a market-by-market approach, targeting Europeans with ‘green tourism’ attractions, enticing Middle Easterners with health and wellness services, and luring back Japanese tourists by naming a ‘golf ambassador’, for example.

No TAT campaign would be complete without a slogan, and this time the agency is indeed playing to the country’s strengths with its new ‘Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value’ catchphrase.

Phuket should stand to benefit from this latest TAT campaign. After all, there is no shortage of places for people to spend money on the island: golf courses, spas, specialty clinics, shopping centers, eco-tourism destinations, and more bars and nightclubs per capita than any other province in the country.

Unfortunately, such value-for-money attractions continue to suffer at the hands of the island’s patchwork of transport syndicates, which make it prohibitively expensive for many tourists to reach them.

— Stephen 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:

Crime6 hours ago

Everything stolen from Danish man’s 3 homes on Koh Samui

Vietnam8 hours ago

Thai Vietjet resumes Bangkok-Da Lat flights after 3-year break

Chon Buri8 hours ago

A mother and baby escape blaze in Chon Buri with severe burns

Politics8 hours ago

Whole new world of censorship pain on its way to Thailand

Technology9 hours ago

Apple plans to move production out of China and into Thailand

Hot News9 hours ago

Sex outside of marriage to carry one year jail sentence in Indonesia

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phang Nga9 hours ago

Four orcas spotted playing near the Similan Islands

Economy11 hours ago

Arrogant Thai construction company rips off Myanmar migrant workers

Bangkok11 hours ago

Safety systems at Central World found fully functional after fire

Malaysia12 hours ago

Big Joke ready to extradite Malaysian super-crook ‘Teddy’

Hot News12 hours ago

Thai govt’s chemical castration policy takes effect next month

Transport13 hours ago

RTP urges Thai drivers not to ignore e-tickets, they’re real, not fake

Transport14 hours ago

A few good apples – Taxi drivers are not all bad

Hot News15 hours ago

Pro-monarchy ‘dictator’ must be stopped from retiring in Australia, say Thai asylum activists

Events15 hours ago

Father’s Day celebrated throughout Thailand today

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