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We need cheaper domestic airfares – Phuket Hotel Association

Plane landing at Phuket airport
Plane landing at Phuket airport

With the patchy recovery of tourism around Thailand, Phuket stakeholders are urging the government to help with the rising cost of flights, particular from the capital to Phuket.

Phuket’s tourism operators and hotel industry are in discussions with government representatives and the local airline industry to find solutions for “expensive domestic flights”.

Last week Phuket-GO checked airfares currently available. We chose this Thursday for a one way flight from Bangkok to Phuket, November 10 – VietJet had flights starting at 1,519 baht, Thai Lion Air had flights for 1,800 baht, Bangkok Airways cheapest flight was 2,110 and Thai Smile’s cheapest fare was 2,660 for one way. That check was a week away from the flight time. Just three days before the Thursday flights, the cost have increased.

Pre-Covid, or even earlier this year, a one way fare could have been as cheap as 800 – 1,000 baht, one way.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam from the Phuket Tourism Business Association noted the recovery of tourism from India, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and increasingly Russia.

“Hotels near the beaches have had very strong occupancy, while hotels further away have been stable but have room to improve.”

For example, in Patong there are four main north/south roads. The beach road and Ra tout tit roads, closest to Patong Beach, are mostly busy with most of the shops open. But the third and fourth road back from the beach are still very quiet, with much of the accommodation and shops still shuttered.

“One obstacle is that domestic flights in Thailand remain expensive from tourism business leaders perspectives and that if agreements were made for promotions or specials to lower the price more domestic tourists would visit”, according to The Pattaya News.

 Meanwhile local airlines are still coping with huge debt burdens, high fuel costs and the generally lower number of customers available at the moment. China and Russia’s outward travel market is still restricted and many European and American feeder markets are well below pre-Covid numbers at this time.

But Bhummikitti says he hopes all the skate holders can make progress before the high season season is fully underway in just a few weeks.

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