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Phuket's Overseas Tourists Come Charging Back

Sunday, August 8, 2010
THE NUMBER of people arriving and departing through Phuket International Airport shows a marked year-on-year increase for July, with total passenger numbers up by17.47 percent.

International travellers led the way, increasing to 224,361 arrivals and departures, up 47.15 percent. The total jumped above the half-million mark, to 507,698. Domestic travel, though, was virtually static, improving a mere 1.29 percent.

Based on these figures and what's being said by tourism industry leaders, tourists appear to be ignoring national travel warnings and the prospect of a renewal of violence in Bangkok.

Direct flights to Phuket is one advantage that the southern resort capital has over other destinations within Thailand that require travel through Bangkok.

Total in-bound and out-bound flights through Phuket rose by 29.71 percent year-on-year in July, with international trips jumping by 34.65 percent. Flights in and out amounted to 3763.

Steady increases are also reflected in the comparison between the period October-July 2009-2010 and October-July 2008-2009. Total passenger numbers are up by 25.90, with the international element increasing by 36.42 percent.

Total arrivals and departures through Phuket reached 5,768,200 in this latest period. Cargo tonnage has also increased by 50.87 percent.

More good news can be expected: last August marked a turnaround in a slide in numbers that extended back to October 2008. This August is expected to continue the 2010 recovery.

Phuket's number-crunchers are anticipating continued growth in tourist numbers towards the 2010-2011 high season, although some resorts have cut room rates to win back market share.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Your heading "Tourists come charging back" may not be quite correct. Many resident ex-pats and long stayers now transit via KL and Changi airports to avoid the high cost of THAI tickets and the hassles and scams of Suvarnabhumi. Last month a group of nine of us flew from Phuket to Saigon and back via KL for the above mentioned reason and many of the passengers on the Phuket-KL-Phuket leg were ex-pats transiting to/from Asia, Europe, Australia etc. Do they get classed as 'tourists charging back'?

Posted by Pete on August 8, 2010 09:29

Editor Comment:

There are certainly business trips and visa run trips out of Phuket made by people who are based here. Are there enough to be more than a blip on the 507,000 arrivals and departures in July? The raw information provided on a monthly basis doesn't tell us. But if the trend to go to KL or Singapore has a real effect, you'll see THAI lopping flights. If international arrivals and departures are up by 47.15 percent, then we reckon that has to be mostly tourists. And it's impressive enough as a figure to say tourists are ''charging back.''


If international arrivals are showing an increase of 47.15% it would normally signify an increase in hotel occupancy rates. Recent reports show occupancy to be down compared to last year so where are all these additional tourists staying?
Obviously not in Phuket.
Since THAI increased domestic fares by up to 40% a couple of months ago to a level now above the cost of a ticket to KL or Singapore the effect is that many passengers now choose to opt for these hubs rather than Bangkok. I do this myself now along with many, many others.

Posted by Pete on August 8, 2010 11:10

Editor Comment:

Most people we've spoken to at resorts lately say their occupancy rates are up.


Hello I am no expert in this field, but I spoke to two very upmarket hotels last week and I also asked about occupancy rates. Answer was interesting, sir we are at 87% full. Ok says me, cut the regular bs you give out, give me the truth, sir we are not allowed to tell the truth but we are only 12% full, please not say anything ok?
Well, they hoteliers are trained to lie to you and me, it makes them look better.
I don't trust these figures but I agree a good sized chunk comes from expats doing 90 visa runs, so believe what you want to, T I T.

Posted by Dun on August 8, 2010 11:47


I really do not get it at all. What scams at Suvarnabhumi airport !
As for not using Thai airways, maybe you should think about Bangkok Air, Thai AirAsia, Nok Air. Bangkok Air sell tickets for 2000 baht .
I myself am very happy with Suvarnabhumi airport.
Never been hassled or scammed.
Well done Thailand. You cannot keep everyone happy i guess .

Posted by Lord Jim on August 8, 2010 14:27


People may have different agendas in reading and publishing the numbers but money never lies. Just look at the hotel rates at and you'll see the true occupancy situation of Phuket hotels.

If this propaganda of 80%+ occupancy rate or "tourists charging back" was true, the hotels would have no need to offer such deep discounts.

Everyone can draw their own conclusions from that.

Posted by Jeff on August 8, 2010 20:09

Editor Comment:

You pick and choose sources then criticise information that doesn't suit your own agenda. Resorts on Phuket are averaging 45-55 percent occupancy. That's the real situation. The rest is in your dreams. And it's not propaganda to say tourists are ''charging back.'' That's what the figures indicate. Our report is an accurate reflection of the situation. To say ''money never lies'' indicates your ability to simplify everything to suit yourself. But as fast as numbers of tourists increase, so do the number of rooms, hence the paradox.

Saturday January 23, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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