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No beach chairs, no problem: tourists enjoying Phuket's Kamala beach

Phuket's One Million, for Five Months

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Photo Album: Life on Kamala Beach

PHUKET: The arrivals and departures total through Phuket International Airport has topped one million passengers for the fifth month straight - a record for the Thai holiday island.

The figure for April was 1,040,748, up 4.75 percent on the same month last year.

However, international arrivals and departures turned downwards fractionally.

That international total of 547,906 was just 0.92 percent under the tally for April last year.

Domestic travellers rallied, though, jumping to 494,297, an 11.84 percent lift over last April when street protests in Bangkok kept many people at home.

The military government and the removal of beach chairs and umbrellas from Phuket's beaches appears to have had little effect on numbers.

Even Phuket's ''shake, rattle and roll'' earthquakes in triplicate over the past 36 hours are unlikely to stop the steady rise in Phuket's popularity.

The great virtue of the Thai holiday island remains its marketability across the globe. Not relying on any one nation to deliver its tourists is a great virtue, combined with Phuket's near-perfect location and continuous warm weather.

A shakeout will come eventually, though. It just seems unlikely to be caused by earthquakes.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Sure - business has never been better here on Phuket, just ask at every bar or hotel.

Posted by Sherlock on May 7, 2015 12:38


It's next year downturn comes, when traveling charter tourists to other countries.

Posted by X-tourist on May 7, 2015 13:15


I agree with Sherlock people are very worried and suffering financially. Where are all these arrivals going in Phuket as the SW beaches and bars are the quietest I have seen them in 5 years.

Posted by Too easy on May 7, 2015 13:42


One million passengers? With the average speed of our airport immigration officers they are all probably still in a queue at the airport!

Posted by Anonymous on May 7, 2015 14:40


Can you bring your own Chair and umbrella or is that still banned also????

Posted by Ozette on May 7, 2015 15:00

Editor Comment:

To the airport, or the beach? At the beach, byo chairs and umbrellas are officially banned but at some beaches, there are no enforcers.


'The military government and the removal of beach chairs and umbrellas from Phuket's beaches appears to have had little effect on numbers. '

Because the single biggest market is now chinese (which makes your comment about relying on a single market funny ) and they don't care about the beach except maybe to take some pictures. Last month many beaches were like deserted Islands.

As for business, nightlife revenue is horrible (only a fraction up on last year, which was the peak of the protests), most smaller hotels that cannot take a tour bus load of Chinese are down (and even if they can their profits are minimal due to tour operators forcing room rates down to maximise their own profits) Hell know many hotels that reduced rates for Songkran. Restaurants, same.

The 'shakeout' has already started, the arrival numbers are the only thing not feeling it.

To be honest cannot wait until something happens to the Chinese numbers, then authorities might be forced to admit and take action about the dire state of tourism in this country.

Posted by Lashay on May 7, 2015 15:19

Editor Comment:

I didn't notice Kamala beach being deserted. The figures show that while Chinese tourists are increasing, there's still a broad diversity as well. Over the years, Phuket has adapted with the ebb and flow of sources. Nothing funny about that.


Really? Have you spoken to staff from Hotels, Bars, Tour groups, Shops etc? Everyone is suffering and to say removing the beach chairs had little effect is incorrect but hang on a minute Oh....the editor is just writing another story to antagonise readers again -yawn - Typical Phuketwan journalism. Just sit behind the desk and have fun by constantly promoting YOU biased opinion (especially when it comes to sunbeds). Please insert your sarcastic/try hard comments to offend in this space [ ] Oh and don't forget to NOT publish my comments again!

Posted by Charles on May 7, 2015 15:40

Editor Comment:

You're always good for a laugh, Charles. We don't write to antagonise readers or to please them. And it is not our business to promote your business. The airport figures are a reliable gauge to numbers coming and going on Phuket. I would suggest that if your business is suffering, you're not targetting new arrivals. Those who adapt will survive, Charles. But that's possibly only news to you.


The chair ban won't affect anything this time, because thousands of people don't know about it.
Let's wait until the "repeat" visitors choose somewhere else.

Posted by Tbs on May 7, 2015 16:24


'The airport figures are a reliable gauge to numbers coming and going on Phuket.'

And that's all they provide, numbers of people hitting the airport.

By it's self a useless figure to anyone but the airport

They do not provide:

* Why they are coming (Tourism/business/Transit/Visa Run, now that ranong is not really option more are flying)

* Where they are going

* How long staying

* How much spending

This type of data is what would show the true picture of the tourist market

Posted by Lashay on May 7, 2015 18:01

Editor Comment:

Indeed. And it's valuable information.


Really! Just back fro 3 weeks in Kata - beaches were very quiet & hardly anyone in bars/restaurants in the evenings. Not sure where all these passengers have gone!

Posted by Anonymous on May 7, 2015 18:14

Editor Comment:

There isn't a huge difference in the numbers each month from December to April but the arrivals change with school holidays and with cost.


Most of them are chinese who have all prepaid in china, little money comming to Thailand. Its not these cheap charter tourists who will fill up the restaurants and bars of the island. They also dont mind about beach chairs because they not like and not go to the beach. The comments below are all to the point. I just was in cherng talay and all the restaurants are empty as all over the island. Figures can be manipulated, drive around the island and you will have the correct vieuw of the tourism situation on the island and have an idee from the future of the island without sunbeds,by the way in front of dusit a parasail is installed in the sand and jet skis are on the beach, is that allowed ? Where is the PW report about this ?The parasail is so big that the orbortor can see it from his office but here he not action, why?

Posted by Eric on May 7, 2015 19:55

Editor Comment:

The PW report is the same place all PW reports are until a reader with a real name takes the trouble to let us know what's going on. Even then, it isn't easy. Please explain to us why we should solve your problems, Eric, when we have a very, very long list, virtually no income and few resources. Please explain why we should work seven days a week to solve your parasail problem when we happen to think life and death issues are more important.


Sure butexchange rates were far more in favor not that long ago for the thai baht and must take a toll on previous glowing forecasts, the turnstile count and what where they spend in the market placeis hard to gauge,for the Chinese they leave there hotel for package group entertainment things only,you don't see them at bars if you want the
Chinese dollar your in accommodation group tours and attractions of above average quality or that market is closed to you,revolving door figures don't cut it as different markets corner the cash.

Posted by slickmelb on May 7, 2015 20:15

Editor Comment:

Yes. So the people who rely on the European tourists are lobbying the authorities, on Phuket and in Bangkok, for changes? Or just settling for being rubbed out as the sensible tourism strategy waves its legs in the air and dies? Helpless is as helpless does.


"No beach chairs no problem" Who are you trying to fool putting that caption beneath the photograph? Its a massive problem for the tourists who like them (and who the editor has referred to as "sun lounge layabouts" in an earlier thread which seems to have been removed). The airport is being improved, we have two middle east airlines flying in direct to Phuket just at the time us "sun lounge layabouts" from Europe have decided its time to look elsewhere. Editor stop trying to convince yourself it will be fine. The restaurant and bar workers were asking me if I would be returning when I was there in February so clearly they could see the hard times coming even if you can't.

Posted by Richard on May 7, 2015 21:00

Editor Comment:

The caption relates directly to the photograph, Richard. That's how captions work. You seem to be one of those people who read things that aren't there. I am sure, of course, that you have complained long and loud to the Tourism and Sport Ministry, to the Governor, perhaps even to the PM on a personal visit, about Phuket's problems and your solutions. If you haven't done those things, misreading captions will do you no good. Personally, I think beach users should be able to bring their own chairs and umbrellas. My crystal ball is fogged but yours is clearly working: do something about it.


I haven't misread the caption. You have used that caption to suggest people are happy to sit on the beach and all is fine for tourists in Phuket. "No beach chairs no problem". Just as you have been saying all will be fine for almost 12 months now and the changes will attract quality tourists and not sun lounge layabouts (or whatever the term was you used) .

I haven't lobbied anyone, why should I? I am a tourist who has chosen to spend his money in Phuket for the past 6 years because I liked the place as it was before. I have no vested interest. I can holiday anywhere I like and as things stand at the moment it wont be Phuket, and I know I am not alone in thinking like this.

Posted by Richard on May 7, 2015 21:50

Editor Comment:

Plainly, the people in the photo are happy.
Odd that you simply want to spout your valueless opinion in an inefficient way. You've done it so well.
I have no control over what's happened on Phuket's beaches, but I do believe the beaches are better as they are now . . . provided beachgoers can bring their own chairs and umbrellas.
You need a sunlounge? Tell the governor.


Plainly the people in the photo are having their photo taken and may well look happy. We don't know because they have their backs to your photographer. How do you know they are happy? They have a beach vendor with them, perhaps its a photo of an endangered species or one for old times sake because they don't intend returning again. I wont comment further but let others decide who "spouts valueless opinion".

Posted by Richard on May 7, 2015 22:20

Editor Comment:

The vast majority of people on holidays are happy, Richard. All around the world, people find happiness sitting on beaches without sunlounges. Perhaps you are that rare exception.


Id be happy shelling out 2-3 grand for my hard earned holiday. TAT plucking at figures again believing your stupid enough to believe it lets be honest there not going to tell the truth are they ???it shows the kingdom in a bad light WHY were high ranking officers shuffled away i bet you dont hear 1 reason all kept in house as usual.

Posted by william on May 7, 2015 23:25

Editor Comment:

Yes, holidaying people are generally happy. The figures come from Airports of Thailand, william, and we have no reason to doubt them. It's the people who start sentences with the phrase ''Let's be honest . . . '' who usually are selling you something.


I really wanna know where all this million tourists went... Because discos and entertainements in Patong suffered a 30-50%, like guesthouse and restaurants. This low season looks horrible.. Maybe all are in the buses going to buffet restaurants and in the big boats to the main destinations Ilands, just "see Phuket in 3 days"... mmmm Chinese???

Posted by dave on May 8, 2015 02:18

Editor Comment:

There probably are more going to Phang Nga and Krabi, dave.


This particular news item seems to attract many of the erstwhile "If there's not something wrong there's something wrong" Brigade.

They look like Nitpickers picking Nits. I'm no psychologist though.

What say you Sue?

Posted by farang888 on May 8, 2015 04:23

Editor Comment:

There are plainly people who remember Kamala beach covered in sunbeds. It was ugly, but they were ''happy.''


In my opinion there are less farang around and thank god for that.Clearly a lot of us are not in business here so the less people the better.
Has anyone noticed how much easier it is to get a park these days?
A massive drop in numbers would be a great thing. Less trafic,pollution etc.
Infrastructure would cope a lot better and prices on some things may drop.
A massive downturn would be fantastic.
Lets bring back the Phuket of the 1980's.! It truly was paradise!

Posted by shadowcat on May 8, 2015 06:16


I not ask you to solve my problems I send you information to make a report how the local or bor tor is managing te beaches , tolerating parasail and jet skis in his juridiction and not tolerate sunbeds

Posted by Eric on May 8, 2015 07:22

Editor Comment:

Jet-skis appear to be a business with a future, Eric, and the nature of the tourists now being attracted to parts of Phuket's coast means that tastes have changed. Why not call Phuket Marine Office 5?


@ Eric, what PW Editor actually is saying is that legal beach chairs now are banned by local ruling ( not by law legislation), and the illegal jet-skis appear to be illegal future business, despite jet-skis are forbidden by law.
Now Jet-ski people even go overseas from one beach to Surin beach, and no one 'touch' them. The unbelievable absence of law enforcement on Phuket.

Posted by Kurt on May 8, 2015 10:01


High arrival figures International Phuket airport are very well possible.
It includes tourists going to Phang Nga, Krabi and surrounding,to PhiPhi,also Scuba divers who go straight to live aboard boats and not see Phuket at all. Weekend tourists from Singapore. People who live on Phuket,returning with a flight. Arrival Phuket airport figures are saying nothing about the this moment Phuket lame tourist industry. Clear and simple.

Posted by Kurt on May 8, 2015 11:21

Thursday July 18, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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