PHUKET: Phuket and Phang Nga are set for a tourism boost this Songkran, even if elsewhere in Thailand times are tough.
Phuket was fully booked through Songkran and Phang Nga would achieve 80 percent, with 100 percent occupancy in Khao Lak, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thawatchai Arunyik, told Phuketwan
Bike Week, being staged through Songkran, followed by Easter hitching up to Phuket Pride Week, should drive record numbers to the Andaman Sea holiday coast.
''Phuket is going well, thanks to direct flights,'' said Governor Thawatchai. He said there was a noticeable trend for more Australians to move off the island to holiday in Phang Nga and Krabi.
Latest figures, however, showed a decline of more than 10 percent in overall Australian and New Zealand visitors to Thailand in March compared to the same month last year.
According to the Kasikorn Research Center, the number of international tourists visiting Thailand for Songkran will drop by 10.6 percent from last year to 600,000, with tourism revenue falling by 9.6 percent to 26.5 billion baht.
For Phuket and Phang Nga, prospects are that all 45,000 rooms on the island will be booked while the 9000 rooms in the neighboring province - up from 8000 a year ago - won't be far from putting out the ''No Vacancies'' signs.