During the first half of 2022, the hotel business in Phuket gradually picked momentum. According to Suksit Suvunditkul, the president of the Thai Hotels Association, Phuket witnessed an average occupancy rate of around 40% in May. What’s more, over the year’s first half, the island has welcomed over 1.7 million visitors.
The resort island visitors mainly were driven by UK, Australia, India and Singapore, generating over B26 billion in revenue. However, the Indian market saw the most significant growth as Phuket received over 52,227 travelers between 1st May and 25th June. In second place was Singapore, with 19,298 travelers.
From the look of things, we can safely say the tourism market is starting to open up in Phuket, and things are slowly returning to normal. In fact, tourists in some destinations like Patong report that they’ve started taking off their masks after Thailand lifted the masks mandate. As much as there’s a spread of new sub-variants, Mr. Suksit says this doesn’t seem to impact sentiments.
The Launch of the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together)
Phuket has always been highly dependent on its tourism industry. That’s why, when the pandemic hit Phuket’s tourism, the government stepped in and established measures to spur demand. Before the pandemic, hotel room reservations used to be 75% but quickly declined to 19.47% in 2020 and went much lower to 7.75% in 2021.
But since the government launched the ‘We Travel Together’ initiative, things are starting to look up for Phuket. This tourism stimulus campaign has contributed to the rise of domestic tourism to 80%, which is the same level as foreign tourism before the pandemic. The hotel room reservation for the first half of the year now stands at 28.27%. It’s impressive how Phuket has recovered better than other provinces considering their economy relies mainly on tourism.
Phuket’s Strong Outlook for the Indian Market
In the meantime, Phuket still has a strong outlook for the Indian market in July. There are a couple of airlines connecting key cities in India to Phuket. Fifteen airlines in Phuket will be bringing in tourists from the UAE, India, UK, Israel, Qatar, Malaysia, and Singapore with an 80% load factor.
The only unfortunate thing is that half of the hotels in Phuket still remain temporarily closed as they await the onset of the high season. Most hotels on the island will resume business as the long-haul market starts in October when European markets open up to travel again. That’s when we might see chartered flights, mainly from Russia, start travelling again.
In 2019, Phuket received over 3 million Chinese travelers, making up 1/3 of their foreign visitors. The hotel segments wouldn’t have seen a substantial recovery if it were not for this market. The European market mostly makes up the primary market for luxury hotels and beach resorts.
On the other hand, the Chinese market generates revenue for all hotel types in all locations. That ranges from 3-star hotels to luxury resorts. So, as much as we say there was a market recovery in the first half of 2022, there will be more to come once China opens up.
Source: Bangkok Post