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Any boost in arrivals for Bangkok is good for Phuket, too

Bangkok Arrivals Boost Good for Phuket, Too

Friday, October 9, 2009
Phuketwan Economic Analysis

RECOVERY seems set for take-off in tourist Thailand as Suvarnabhumi Airport statistics show a rise of 16.6 percent in international arrivals for September.

Scams and scandals aside, as 'Smart Travel Asia' says in making its 2009 awards this week: ''Airports: love them, hate them, you certainly have to use them.''

Suvarnabhumi, placed third behind Changi in Singapore and Hong Kong for the magazine's best airport award this year, seems to have recovered from the first tsunami of bad publicity about rip-offs and scams. Inevitably a second wave will come because Thailand tolerates corruption at every level, beginning as tourists land at the capital's airport.

Most significant change is the return of travellers from Japan (98,651 up 11.09 percent) China (53,654 up 80.21 percent) and Singapore (31,204 up 50.89 percent). Koreans and Taiwanese continued to fall away. Many through-passengers in Bangkok are bound for Phuket.

The arrival of the Miss Poland contestants on Phuket this week may have also been a sign of increasing promotion in Europe. The figures certainly look good.

East Europe (9417 up 46.41 percent) and Russia (12,767 up 33.56 percent) showed the largest gains but the steady improvers in the big-number nations of Britain (47,092 up 8.11 percent) and Germany (36,931 up 10.55 percent) also helped.

Finland, Austria, France and Denmark were all moving in the right direction, too. But the Middle East showed the most remarkable turnaround, up 48.66 percent to a total of 37,847 arrivals.

Kuwait led the way (3824 up 594.01 percent) followed by the UAE (4575 up 154.17 percent) with Saudi Arabia and Egypt also coming into calculations. Greater provision for halal food on Phuket is clearly a good idea.

Israel remains a strong source for tourists to Thailand (11,941 up 11.69 percent).

With July's hotel bombs in Jakarta, it may have been thought that more Australians would be heading for Thailand and Phuket. However, Australia (39,043 down 7.68 percent) and New Zealand (6235 down 12.77 percent) went against the upward trend.

The US also slipped (33,334 down 3.01 percent), perhaps an indication of unresolved economic uncertainty, while Brazil (1297 up 19.54 percent) and Canada (7705 up 12.25 percent) moved in the other direction. All told, 729,231 arrivals were recorded.
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