Phuket hotels await the start of high season

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BANGKOK: Phuket has seen an influx of travelers from India in the first six months of this year, accounting for 50% of foreign guests, but half of all hotels on the island remain closed awaiting the start of the high season.

Tourists take photos in Old Phuket Town. Mr. Suksit said the Indian market has seen significant growth in the first half of this year. Photo: Dusida Worrachaddejchai / Bangkok Post

Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the Southern Chapter of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), said hotel activity in Phuket gradually picked up in the first half with an average occupancy rate of around 40% in May, mainly driven by travelers from India, Singapore. , Australia and the United Kingdom, reports Bangkok Post.

He said the Indian market has seen significant growth over this period with more than 52,227 travelers from May 1 to June 25, more than double the size of second-place Singapore’s market with 19,298 travellers.

“The situation in Phuket has mostly returned to normal, with tourists in some destinations, such as Patong, beginning to remove their masks after Thailand’s mandate was lifted last week. The spread of new subvariants has not no impact on sentiment yet,” Souksit said.

Meanwhile, the outlook for the Indian market in July remains strong with direct flights from Thai Smile Airways, Go First Airlines and Indigo Airlines connecting Phuket with key cities such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai.

In July, Phuket will have 15 airlines operating 58 direct flights to the island, bringing tourists from India, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Qatar, Israel and the United Kingdom. , with an average filling factor of 80%.

But as Thailand has been in low season since May, around 50% of hotels in Phuket remain temporarily closed as demand from the long-haul market is weaker.

THA expects most hotels on the island to resume operations with the start of the high season in October, when European markets, particularly charter flights from Russia, will begin to travel again.

He said that given that Phuket welcomed 3 million Chinese travelers in 2019, or a third of all its foreign visitors, it was difficult to see a strong recovery for all hotel segments without this market.

“Chinese travelers generally generated revenue in all types of hotels in all locations, ranging from three-star hotels to luxury resorts, which was different from European customers, who are the main market for beach resorts and hotels. This meant the recovery of the hospitality industry was uneven,” Mr Suksit said.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said Russian tour operators had told the agency there was high demand in the eastern part of the country, led by Novosibirsk and Vladivostok, with at least 450,000 airline seats ready to take visitors to Thailand from October to December 2022.

However, as scheduled flights are still largely frozen due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, TAT needs to work with airlines to help connect these cities to Thailand on a charter basis.

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