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Phuket tourism officials say economy being driven by Indian visitor numbers

FILE PHOTO: Flickr/Caro

Phuket officials say over 70,000 Indian tourists have visited the island in the last 3 months, substantially propping up the local economy. According to a Phuket Express report, most Indian visitors have enjoyed marine activities and shopping in the Old Town area of the island.

Mr. Somyos Patan, President of the Old Phuket Town Community says there’s no sign of Indian visitor numbers slowing down.

“There were more than 70,000 Indian tourists who visited Phuket from May to July and more of them are coming. They are the current single biggest nationality in terms of foreign tourists in Phuket.”

According to Somyos, in addition to water-based activities and shopping, most Indian visitors have enjoyed the entertainment Phuket has to offer, as well as photographing the architecture of the Old Town. He believes businesses should capitalise on the island’s popularity with Indian tourists by catering to their tastes.

“If business operators know what Indian tourists favour, they can attract more Indian tourists. Many businesses are beginning to cater to Indians and learn the type of food, music, and atmosphere that they enjoy. A Thai style or western style atmosphere for restaurants and entertainment venues are not as popular with Indian tourists as one that plays their music, offers their food, and makes them feel comfortable.”

Phuket tour guide Phonnan Ritsaksri agrees that Indian tourists are the ones offering the most support to the local economy right now.

“Indians will be the best group of tourists who support the Phuket and Thailand economy for now. Many people don’t believe Indians spend money but they do, primarily at natural tourist attractions and fun places like water parks and island activities.”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says Indian visitors continue to be the largest group of foreign tourists visiting the kingdom at this time. This is being attributed to the downturn in markets that were previously Phuket’s largest, namely China and Russia, and problems with expensive flights out of Europe, the UK and the US at this time.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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