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Fanciful Tourism  Figures Do Phuket  No Good

Fanciful Tourism Figures Do Phuket No Good

Saturday, September 21, 2013
PHUKET: When it comes to numbers and tourism on Phuket, the Tourism Authority of Thailand appears to have a problem.

An article was published in a national newspaper today, saying that the TAT is targetting 14 million arrivals for Phuket for next fiscal year.

This would be an increase from this year's 12 million, the TAT spokesperson is quoted as saying.

These figures are really strange because nobody else with any knowledge of tourism on Phuket quotes figures like these.

The truth is that Phuket can expect to have about six million tourists this year, and approximately half of those will be international visitors.

Someone with knowledge of the numbers really needs to sit down and explain the reality to the TAT.

By allowing false figures to be published, they are - knowingly or unknowingly - conveying the wrong impression about Phuket's tourism success.

Airports of Thailand, which manages Phuket International Airport, probably has a reasonable idea of the numbers of tourists coming to the island.

By our reckoning, at least 90 percent of Phuket's tourists come and go by air. AoT figures show that 9,526,243 passengers passed through Phuket's airport last year. That's arrivals . . . and departures.

So cutting that figures in half gives us 4,763,121, which is approximately the total number of arrivals by air. About half of these arrivals were Thais.

This calendar year, the Phuket airport could set a new record of 11 million passengers, arriving and departing.

There are certainly additional tourists arriving on Phuket by bus and cruise ship, but not in vast numbers.

''The first 11 months of this fiscal year that began in October 2012 recorded more than 10 million tourist arrivals in Phuket,'' records the article in the national newspaper today. ''The full fiscal year that ends this month could record 12 million visitors.''

Oh really? We'd reckon the number of visitors to Phuket will actually be about half that, with less than three million overseas travellers and the rest from Thailand.

The article goes on to quote a TAT spokespoerson as saying: ''We focus on quality tourists rather than quantity. That means our tourists will have the purchasing power to drive tourism income to at least Bt240 billion in fiscal 2014.''

He is talking about the fantasy 14 million tourists that are not actually going to arrive on Phuket in fiscal 2014.

The figure is likely to be less than seven million, with perhaps just over three million from other countries.

Bear in mind that Phuket's biggest rival in the region, Bali, is expecting just over three million international arrivals this calendar year.

How is it possible that Phuket, with an obsolete airport, could even daydream about 14 million arrivals?

The TAT must get its figures right or risk encouraging more resort developers to begin a scramble to open on Phuket for a market that is just a total TAT invention.

It also does the TAT no credit in tourism globally to get its figures so badly wrong.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


TAT may include the high quality tourists such as Rohingya refugees....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 21, 2013 09:40


The Tourism Authority of Thailand has only one goal, growth in arrival numbers, there is only lip service paid to alternatives.

To be fair to them they have no authority apart from promoting tourism into the county. . No oversight of tourist -destination planing, infra structure development.

A classic sample is the location of the tourism authority of Thailand office in Phuket town. It should be located in Patong, Kata or Karon or maybe at Central Festival and area where tourists actualy go

Its a marketing organisation,which was right for the development of tourism to the countries in the 80ies and 90ies. Regretfully nobody has changed their goal and objective for the coming years.


Posted by wm on September 21, 2013 10:27


But someone has to support the construction and property industry. As long as it it possible. Till the bubble is 'big enough', to burst!

Posted by Anonymous on September 21, 2013 10:33

Editor Comment:

It's not really support to encourage people to think the Phuket 'cake' is much larger than it really is. Property developers would be disappointed if their new resort, created on the basis of the TAT's encouraging figures, is left empty. The problem is, I suspect, that these simple yet important figures are probably left to a clerk to provide - and then never double-checked by the people who repeat them.



The TAT is not a Tourist Information Center, and therefore is not located in Patong, Kata or Karon.
The head office has many departments, including 'Planning and Development' department.
But you are right about the authority. They work under the Minister of Tourism, who eventually gets to make the decisions. All TAT can do is research and recommendations. (which, apparently, they do not do very well)
I have done an internship with the P&D department of the TAT in BKK, over ten years ago, and like any other government office, they do not know about efficiency or productivity.

Posted by Tinkerbell on September 21, 2013 10:53


It is not only TAT numbers. A recent independent hotel report claimed an increase in REVPAR and ADR.
Yet every person I speak to in the industry tells me the exact opposite.

Posted by Yojimbo on September 21, 2013 11:34


This is a very good article as one only has to see Phuket is so quiet this low season. However to counter that the airport seems to have more flights, EG Jetstar have added more flights from Singapore on certain days and other airlines offer more direct destinations. So I guess I will have to add this to my opinion on many things in amazing Thailand that are not 100% accurate.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on September 21, 2013 12:54


Don't confuse me with the facts. There will be 14 million tourists in 2014 and that is that

Posted by Tuna on September 21, 2013 17:33


" Oh really? We'd reckon the number of visitors to Phuket will actually be about half that, with less than three million overseas travellers and the rest from Thailand. "

If they are "quality tourists" they will arrive in hkt, but after, the leave
phuket to stay in Khao lak,krabi,koh lanta and so....

Posted by rudolf on September 21, 2013 18:26


@ ED
"It's not really support to encourage people to think the Phuket 'cake' is much larger than it really is." --- You are right, of course. But the construction company, the real estate, the bank, the owner of the land, its all very supportive for them.
Many landowner kept there ground till now, maybe only gave it for 30 year lease. Now they wanna sell!
And with the ASEAN comes a lot of ASEAN money to Thailand.
Thai rak Thai, you remember?

Posted by Anonymous on September 21, 2013 18:35


If only the TAT figures could be used as justification for increasing police numbers on Phuket then they might do some good otherwise they are just numbers and of no use to anybody.

Posted by Arthur on September 21, 2013 22:05

Wednesday April 24, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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