Phuket’s office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced that 1.7 million travellers have visited Phuket during 2022. Phuket, ever reliant on a steady flow of tourists, has suffered greatly and lost most of its hospitality and tourism workforce over the past 2 years.
The director of the TAT’s Phuket Office says occupancy levels in Phuket hotels used to be 75% before the pandemic but had declined to 19.5% and 7.8%, respectively, over the past 2 calendar years. Nanthasiri Ronnasiri also claims that more than 200,000 foreign tourists visited Phuket after the launch of the Phuket Sandbox, between July 1 and December 31 last year.
Domestically, the Thai government’s ‘We Travel Together’ tourism stimulus campaign, has been the main driver for Phuket tourism whilst the borders remained largely shut in Phuket from April 2020 until the launch of the Phuket Sandbox on July 1, 2021. The proportion of local tourists rose to 80% of the total in 2021, when travel was much more restricted.
She then said that from beginning of 2022 to the end of May “around 1.73 million tourists visited the island, of them 132,472 were domestic travellers”, according to a quote in the Bangkok Post.
“Phuket is the most popular province for tourists in the South.”
From this Friday, the Thailand Pass and the compulsory US$10,000 insurance are no longer required for international visitors to Phuket. The wearing of face masks in open spaces is now also voluntary. The Phuket governor clarified the situation last week.
“The wearing of a mask is a voluntary practice from now on, so that people on Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand can live closer to normal conditions. With the latest ruling now published in the Royal Gazette, the wearing of a mask is no longer required outdoors, unless you’re in a crowded space, such as a busy market or concert.”
However people are still required to wear a mask in crowded locations, public buildings (including the airport), public transport and on domestic flights. Private businesses on the island can also require people entering their premises to wear a face mask at this time.