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Now add double the numbers . . . where to for Phuket tourism

Phuket Targets Record, Revenue Rise

Thursday, October 6, 2011
PHUKET: With the year three-quarters over, Phuket International Airport is virtually certain to exceed the eight-million passenger mark, with serious questions now being raised about what happens in 2012 and 2013.

Tourism and Sport Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa wants to double revenues from tourism in just four years, according to a newspaper report today.

Precisely how this will happen when Phuket airport and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok are choked beyond capacity right now remains a mystery.

New taxes? New tricks? Where, precisely?

Even with the expansion of Phuket airport going ahead and achieving its deadline of opening before November 2014, the capacity of the enlarged airport will stop at 12.5 million.

To achieve double the revenue without new taxes or tricks, double the traffic is likely to be required. Two times eight million is 16 million.

We welcome a more precise explanation from Khun Chumpol, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, as to how twice the revenue can be achieved.

It's especially pertinent given the regular appeals for ''quality'' tourism, not mass market travel, and for ''green'' tourism, not just numbers. How doubling revenues within four years sits with these other philosophies remains a mystery for now.

Yet the numbers for Phuket passengers this year are impressive. The total for 2011 in comings and goings now stands at 6,271,116, with the September figure of 593,573 up 23.71 percent on September last year.

Taking the passenger figures beyond the official maximum of 6.5 million arrivals and departures is a credit to staff at the now-obsolete Phuket airport - even if the happiness quotient of Phuket businesspeople does not appear to have improved at all.

If only room rates were rising on the same upward trajectory. If only salaries and wages were being held in check. Double the revenue from tourism in the space of four years?

Resort managements, so we are led to believe, will be all ears to hear what Khun Chumpol has to say next.

Airports of Thailand, behind the eight ball in trying to keep up with expanding tourism numbers, will also be listening intently. So will all flyers in Bangkok and Phuket.

From time to time, they all face inordinate delays at both airports as peak time crushes make air traffic a form of Russian Roulette.

For the record, international comings and goings through Phuket airport totalled 282,883 in September, up 29.14 percent and running well ahead of the domestic increase of 19.15 percent. International flights were up by 26.17 percent, total flights by 16.36 percent to 4296 for the month.

Figures for the year from October 2010 to the end of September show 8,206,405 passengers moved through Phuket, up 20.73 percent.

With October, November and December all likely to top 600,000 passengers, it's eight million in calendar 2011, here we come.

But double Thailand's revenue from tourism, inside four years? That will be interesting.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


@To achieve double the revenue without new taxes or tricks, double the traffic is likely to be required.
As 50 to 60% of hotels don't declare properly their busineses, then Revenue Department should increase the number of civil servants to make more audits about all illegal businesses and prosecute them in court to fine them heavy penalties.
With over 13,000 companies in Phuket itself with a lot owned and controlled by foreigners with Thai proxy nominees they should be able to double or triple the income without increasing the yearly tourist arrival. EASY... but those in power are not interested by that option as usual.
By the same way they will be able to control tuk-tuk cartels, jet-ski operators, tour companies with illegal guides, dive shops with illegal diving Instructors, motorcycle and car rentals operators, real estate companies and so on....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on October 6, 2011 18:21


Record all the time..but where are the tourists hiding? Maybe they disappear to all inclusive hotels!

Posted by Mika on October 6, 2011 18:37


A well researched and accurate analysis of what is in store.

As suggested by Mika on October 6, where are they all hiding. I don't hear of people in business both Thai and foreign having boom times. Sheer numbers alone won't change this fact without a dramatic change in the infrastructure.

Posted by interested observer on October 6, 2011 19:28

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