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Tourism “recovering to pre-pandemic levels” in Phuket, elsewhere in Thailand

Thailand tourism
Flickr/Werner Bayer

The Thai government claims tourism in Phuket and other popular destinations is “recovering to pre-Covid levels”, according to a Bangkok Post report. Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri confidently re-affirmed earlier predictions that the country is on course to attract at least 10 million visitors this year, with 5 million having arrived since the start of 2022 and 1 million so far this month.

“Tourism is bouncing back close to pre-Covid 19 levels.”

In 2019 there were just short of 40 million international travellers entering Thailand – an average of 3.3 million per month.

In Phuket, Anucha claims tourism has rebounded significantly since Covid-19 restrictions were eased, with the island’s airport seeing up to 84% of domestic passengers back at pre-pandemic levels. In addition, around 40% of foreign tourist numbers are back, most of them arriving from India and the Middle East.

Despite the spokesman’s enthusiasm, the number of actual flights into Phuket, and Thailand generally, are less than 50% of scheduled flights in pre-Covid Thailand. In some cases, international airlines are not even restarting their flights into Thailand, let alone resuming their previous schedules. And carriers like Nok Air, Thai Airways and Thai Smile, all in different stages of receivership, have cut their schedules back to a bare minimum.

From January next year, Phuket tourism officials optimistically hope to see Chinese visitors return. Prior to Covid-19, Chinese tourists easily accounted for the largest segment of international visitors. The deputy governor of Phuket, Pichet Panapong, say he also hopes to see an increase in charter flights from Russia from next month.

Read the reason Russian tourists will not be returning to Thailand any time soon HERE.

Phuket is planning a range of events to attract visitors in the coming months, kicking off with the infamous vegetarian festival, which runs from September 26 to October 4. This year will be the first time the festival can return to its regular format since the start of the pandemic (although it ran last year in a stripped-back format).

In addition, Phuket will host a number of sporting events and international conventions, with Pichet forecasting an average hotel occupancy rate of 80% between now and the rest of the year.

During the last quarter of 2022, the Tourism Authority of Thailand hopes to see the country’s foreign visitors reach 1.5 million a month and is partnering with a number of airlines to launch marketing campaigns during the high season.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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