PHUKET: Occupancy rates at 4- and 5-star hotels have averaged about 80% since the tsunami anniversary and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is predicting that 5 million people will visit Phuket in 2006, generating some 80 billion baht in revenue.
Speaking to the Gazette yesterday, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, Assistant Director of TAT’s Region 4 Office in Phuket, described the occupancy rates as “satisfactory”.
With strong demand expected in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) market when the high season begins to wind down after March, the TAT expects an average occupancy rate of 70% in 4- and 5-star hotels during the coming low season.
K. Siripakorn said the bullish low-season figures could be achieved if hotels and other businesses “add value” to their products, for example by offering “stay two nights, get one night free” packages.
Currently the biggest sources of tourists as determined by the frequency of scheduled and charter flights are in Europe, especially Britain, Germany and Sweden. Other important sources are Russia, South Korea and Australia, he said.
In 2004, 4.7 million tourists visited the island, generating some 85 billion baht in revenue. Although figures plummeted by about 40% in 2005 in the aftermath of the tsunami, the TAT expects a rebound this year, with figures close to those of 2004.
Package tourism is predicted to play an important role. “We can’t focus only on ‘quality’ tourists. We also need to think about quantity,” K. Siripakorn said. “We expect to get about 5 million tourists in 2006, generating some 80 million baht in revenue.”
Helping to bring this about would be a series of TAT roadshows to Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea, he added.
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