Phuket plans to revive shattered tourism industry

 Wednesday, July 22, 2020 


Phuket has slowly started to carry out short, medium and long-term campaigns to revive its domestic tourism industry that came to a standstill in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, Provincial governor Narong Woonsew informed that the province contributes 400 billion baht in tourism revenue to the country each year on average.

He informed that the pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to Phuket’s tourism industry that makes up 80% of the region’s economy. He mentioned that the huge dent in tourism has prompted authorities to rethink of the province’s economic advancement strategy, whereby it will reduce its dependence on one sector and diversify by developing other potential growth-driver businesses as the entire economy of the province crashes when tourism industry is battered.

According to reports, the tourism sector of Phuket employed around 323,219 people locally before the coronavirus outbreak. The sector also generated around 245 billion baht in annual gross provincial product (GPP). All of these have been affected by the impact of COVID-19 on tourism. Reports also state that the virus outbreak caused an estimated damage of 160 billion baht to the province’s tourism sector. It has also been forecasted that the number of tourist visiting Phuket this year will shrink to only five million, a deceased number as compared to the figure of 14.4 million from last year. Of the expected five million tourists, 1.5 million are predicted to be Thais.

Mr Narong said that the current priority is to get the economy back on its feet by implementing short, medium and long term revival campaigns involving cooperation between the public and private sectors. In the short term, the government is offering a 40% subsidy on air tickets and accommodation for people taking a holiday in the province over the next three months. They have also enabled travel and accommodation discount to healthcare workers as a token of appreciation from the government for their efforts in battling COVID-19. In the medium and longer term, the provincial office and tourism companies are looking forward to develop non-tourism sectors to help drive the province’s growth. It would include education, health and wellness, seafood and gastronomy businesses.

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