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Thousands of workers needed on Phuket as international tourism bounces back

PHOTO: Flickr/Vesselin Kolev

The President of the Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter says Phuket needs 17,000 additional workers as a result of a boom in foreign tourism. Speaking to the media, Sueksit Suwandissakun says officials now have an agreement in place with a number of third-level institutions to supply graduates to work in the tourism sector.

The critical labour shortage has been a problem going as far back as Phuket opening up with the tourist ‘Sandbox’ when the island was first to re-open to travellers on July 1, 2021.

“We need 17,000 more staffers, roughly. We have cooperated with colleges and universities in Thailand to send us trainees.”

According to Sueksit, average hotel occupancy is now on a par with pre-pandemic levels, with Chinese tourists returning and a new tourism market emerging in the form of travellers from Kazakhstan.

“Phuket tourism has rapidly recovered since the middle of last year. 88% of hotel rooms have been sold from January to this month, which is about the same number as before Covid-19. Chinese tourists are coming back and a new and growing tourist market are Kazakhstani tourists.”

However, in addition to the severe labour shortage, Phuket also faces challenges such as the rising cost of electricity, high airfares, and an insufficient number of direct flights servicing the island.

“The biggest tourism problems currently are the high price of flight tickets. There were 450 flights before Covid -19 to Phuket daily, and now there are about 250 flights which is about a 50% recovery.”

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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