Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

HOME // Phuket News // “Softening of demand after April” – Phuket hoteliers worry about bookings

“Softening of demand after April” – Phuket hoteliers worry about bookings

Phuket Nai Harn
PHOTO: Phuket's Nai Harn beach

Phuket’s tourist arrival numbers have stabilised after the pre-Christmas/new year surge in passenger arrivals at Phuket International Airport. Since the middle of December, arrival data shows that Phuket is welcoming 10-15,000 passengers a day. Since the middle of January, the daily arrivals have flatlined, indicating an easing of demand as both the western and Chinese New Year holidays are now passed.

Whilst Phuket hoteliers and tour group operators are cheering on the influx of visitors back to the island, there are some disturbing trends which may threaten Phuket’s sustainable tourist revival for the rest of 2023.

First and foremost is the enormous influx of Russian visitors which started during October last year and has just increased with, now, nearly 1 in 3 arrivals to the island are from Russian ports.

From the start of November through to February 9, nearly 300,000 Russian travellers have come through Phuket’s immigration turnstiles. People from The Russian Federation are eligible for a 45 visa waiver, followed by a possible extension for another 30 days (after March 31, 2023 the visa waiver will revert to 30 days on arrival plus 30 day extension, unless the Thai government extends the promotion).

Figures from Phuket Immigration from November 1, 2022 – February 9, 2023

Never in Phuket’s history has there been such a concentration of one nationality contributing to the daily arrival figures. Even in the heyday of mass Chinese tourism, the concentration of Chinese tourists never reached beyond 28% in Phuket. That “eggs-in-on-basket” situation was tested after the July 2018 sinking of the ‘Phoenix’ south of Phuket where 47 Chinese tourists drowned. The bad publicity from that incident caused a steep drop off of Chinese visitors, poking a large hole in the tourist arrivals for at least the rest of 2018.

Speaking to a leading hotelier, who asked not to be identified, Phuket-GO were told that is a marked softening demand in forward bookings after April.

“Bookings have been brisk since the start of December last year but, compared to pre-Covid booking figures, we’re noticing a big drop off in demand after April, which is concerning.”

Villa owners, car rental companies and visa agents have also reported an enormous surge of demand from Russian clientele, pushing up rental prices around the island.  One local agent, specialising in sales to Russian customers, says that most slack in the Phuket property market has now “well and truly” been taken up, forcing prices higher as a result.

“I fear many people in Phuket’s tourism business are just happy to be filling up their pockets again, from wherever the tourists are coming from, and not looking at the trends. The local hotels and tour stakeholders have made this mistake before with the influx of Chinese visitors in the decade before the pandemic.”

Advertisement Phuket Go Advertisement sidebar_1


5 Star Marine Phuket

You May Also Like

Phuket News

Thursday, April 18, 2024 – Phuket weather, sunset times, air quality and tides (7am) Whilst this patch of hot and dry weather continues, and the...

Phuket News

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 – Phuket weather forecast Increasing cloud today with a corresponding increase in winds from east. The slightly overcast conditions should...

National News

UPDATE: There has been another NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) issued in the past 24 hours which changes Item 5, which MAY provide an...

Phuket Life

No. The December 26, 2004, event, known as the Asian Tsunami, Indian Ocean Tsunami or the Boxing Day Tsunami, was an extremely rare event...