Thailand’s new minister says tourist numbers in Phuket ‘not as bad as media say’

Published on : Thursday, August 8, 2019

The new Sports and Tourism minister of Thailand states that the decline in tourism has been majorly overstated by the media.


Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, for whom it’s hard to find any information online regarding his previous posts or qualifications, informed reporters in Phuket at the weekend that Phuket is not “lifeless” as projected by few media people.


As per Manager Online, the Minister approved that it may be “a bit down” however things are not terribly awful as media have reported.


The Minister explains that visitors from India are “on the up” and the charter flight numbers are increasing more and more in Phuket. He mentioned that the government had set a target to “raise tourism revenues to 30% of Gross Domestic Product” within two years (that’s a direct translation from the Minister’s mouth).


“To achieve this all ministries such as the ministry of interior, transport and the environment must work closely with the ministry of tourism and sports.”


He informed Manager Online that his intention in visiting Phuket was to look into the problems that operators and people are facing.


“Phuket does not have a low season or a high season – it is a 365 day a year tourism place,” he told the somewhat confused Phuket media pack.


The Minister explains that he is interested to make Thailand a “hub of ocean-going tourism”. By keeping this in mind, he wants to pull more cruise ships to Phuket that would tour tourists around the Malay Peninsula.


At the time of his fact-finding mission to the island, the minister took part in the lifeguard training at Patong and a football tournament.


The Thaiger has reported that anecdotal reports from tourism operators and hoteliers stated that tourism dropped 30 at least during April and May. The claims of the 30% figure were also backed up by the local President of the Thai Hotels Association.


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