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Cheaper flights to Phuket a possibility to help revive the tourism industry

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Thai Airways

Some say cheaper flights to Phuket will entice people to visit the island and get the once booming tourist destination back on its feet. Along with talk of lowering the price of tickets, those at a stakeholder meeting at the Thai Airways International headquarters in Bangkok say more direct international flights to the island also need to be reinstated.

The lack of international travel due to the coronavirus crippled Phuket’s tourism-dependent economy. The resort island province has been working on stimulating domestic tourism to make up for lost revenue and keep the tourism industry afloat.

Already you can get discount seats from Bangkok to Phuket, and return, for around 500 – 600 baht, taxes included, with Thai VietJet, Thai Lion Air and Nok Air (during a quick browse of the airline sites this morning). The taxi fare for the trip to Patong, Kat and Karon could cost you 800 – 1000 baht.

Last month, around 200,000 domestic tourists visited Phuket, but that number isn’t close to what last year’s numbers were. In 2019, over 14 million foreign visitors to Phuket brought in 470 billion baht, making up 90% of the province’s tourism revenue.

While some tourism related businesses are able to adapt and now cater to a local customer base, some still need foreign tourists to survive. At the stakeholder meeting, Phuket governor Narong Woonciew suggested airlines add more flights, lowering ticket prices and drawing in more domestic visitors.

Thai Airways was going to resume flights from Bangkok to Phuket on Christmas, but pushed the date back to January 1 due to the recent Covid-19 infections.

Some people at the stakeholder meeting discussed reinstating direct flights from European countries. Even with a 14 day quarantine, international travel demand remains strong, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand deputy governor Sirikorn Chieksamut. Thai Airways acting vice president for sales, Jesada Chandrema, says the proposal is “interesting and possible.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    It’s already cheaper to fly to Phuket than it is to get a return taxi trip from the airport to anywhere south of Phuket town. If these clowns want to be taken seriously then sort out the “allowed” blatant scams and rip offs that any visitor faces visiting here.

    • Avatar


      Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      I totally agree.the price of taxis is rediculous.i live hearand for the last 15 yrs it hasnt been below 1000 bht.bangkok to s/phum airport is only about 400 bht with meter meter taxis at phuket that are allowed into airport.its all controlled by u know who.sorry to say.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Anyone want to buy a ticket on an airline that owes 24 billion baht in ticket refunds? That defaulted on 32 million dollars of debt?
    That take the tourist to an island that charges the foreigners twice the price that a Thai to run a marathon?
    That taxi drivers and tuc tuc drivers still rip of customers and the officials and police ignore it?
    Starve you Phuckers.
    I want to hear you singing: Up in the morning, out on the job, work like the devil for my pay, but that lucky old sun, has nothing to do but roam around heaven all day. In Thai of course.

    • Avatar

      The Thaiger

      Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm

      Comment of the day, so far!

    • Avatar

      Alte Ledertasche

      Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      Perfect description of the reality. Nothing to add.

  3. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Cheap flights & cheaper vaccine.I’m starting to see a pattern .

  4. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    The ship has left and the government is entirely responsible.

  5. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Irrelevant ! None will come. Thai tourism is dead. De profundis !!!!!!!

  6. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Thailand needs more than just tourists to revive their economy because realistically, it’ll take years for the numbers to return and every tourist based economy will be competing for the few tourists that are willing to travel internationally.
    International investors will also need incentives to help revive Thailand but the current laws are very discouraging. Toby Andrews may end up looking like an oracle if the Thai government doesn’t do more to compete for tourists and investors.

  7. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Free food and free accomodation For all domestic Tourists . This will Work ?

  8. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Yup – as long as international tourists- I mean only westerners are treated like ” enemys of the state” they will never return – and it is ALLWAYS others fault when something goes bad in LOS = land of scam – NEVER thais fault- let them swim in their own shit to the neck . its their own fault all of it. – other countries in the region are more welcoming to tourists..

  9. Avatar


    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Thai said they didn’t want cheap flights, cheap Charlie’s ruining their landscape- money talks

  10. Avatar

    Graham Smith

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Let them earn a few baths on domestic tourists, it will surely be good. But the truth is that they dream of white dirty foreigners who really shop. Take and start researching your own behavior towards tourists, stop with your cheap two price system, put down your cheap blows for accommodation, travel, hairdresser etc. It’s just damn fun to follow your struggle that you clearly can not do without dirty tourists. Go to bed and have a good dream about times when you had tourism.

  11. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 10:44 am

    The Chinese travel bubble will happen eventually. Only then you realize the Chinese use their own hotels, restaurants, buses, tour agencies etc etc. They allow a little to trickle down to the locals. With friends like that…who needs enemies.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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