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More Tourists, Fewer Baht

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Phuket:

More tourists, fewer baht

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The TAT says it's emphasis is now on tourist spending, not tourist numbers

PHUKET: With hotel occupancy rates on the island currently reported at around 90 percent, hoteliers and other tourism business operators find themselves for the first time in two years unable to complain about a lack of tourists.

This is obviously good news, but businesses on the island are finding that strong arrival figures haven’t translated into the kind of revenue enjoyed during past high seasons. Many report income down by 30 to 40 percent compared to the 2007-2008 season.

Although this is an improvement over the 2008-2009 high season, which was wiped out by the takeover of Bangkok’s two airports, business operators are complaining that the hoped-for bumper profits needed to get them though the next low season simply aren’t there.

There are several reasons for this spending drop, the most important of which is the state of the global economy. The downturn has left European tourists, traditionally Phuket’s bread-and-butter market, forced to cut back on expenditure while on vacation.

The demographics of inbound tourism to Phuket are changing as well. With the expansion in the number of direct scheduled and direct charter flights to the island from many new destinations in the region, Asian tourists now make up half of all foreign visitors.

In response to these trends, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it is trying to get tourists to part with more cash during their stays here.

Although it claims the new focus will be on expenditure and not arrival figures, the Tourism and Sports Ministry has nevertheless set a nationwide goal of attracting 16 million tourists in 2010, up two million from last year.

The TAT's deputy governor for international marketing, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, recently said the agency will take a market-by-market approach, targeting Europeans with ‘green tourism’ attractions, enticing Middle Easterners with health and wellness services, and luring back Japanese tourists by naming a ‘golf ambassador’, for example.

No TAT campaign would be complete without a slogan, and this time the agency is indeed playing to the country’s strengths with its new ‘Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value’ catchphrase.

Phuket should stand to benefit from this latest TAT campaign. After all, there is no shortage of places for people to spend money on the island: golf courses, spas, specialty clinics, shopping centers, eco-tourism destinations, and more bars and nightclubs per capita than any other province in the country.

Unfortunately, such value-for-money attractions continue to suffer at the hands of the island’s patchwork of transport syndicates, which make it prohibitively expensive for many tourists to reach them.

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-- Phuket Gazette 2010-01-31

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todays phuket tourists simply spend more time on hotel balcony and on the beach.

less time and money on adventures, with or without scary tuk-tuks

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Year on year prices keep going up as per normal in Thai business, so the spending gets cut back.

I wonder what TAT's next tourist promotion will be :)?

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‘Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value’ with that catch phrase tat is not going to attract big spenders, but more of the budget travellers. If phuket is more expensive or at the same price, as beach resorts in the home country, budget tourists are not going to spend more than for an accommodation and food.

I would think, that gradually, within the last few years, more and more holidaymakers are coming on package tours, lured by the heavy discounts from hotels.

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I was just talking with some bar owners today. They tell me that whole families come in and order a couple of bottles of cold water, and sit for hours. Not much profit there for the bars...

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Grasping Somchai's to one side a moment but still related.

News here (UK) is that growth will be flat for pretty much most of 2010, plus the effects of VAT raising again to 17.5% (January) and increases in N.I. come May, continue to have an enormous effect on folk's spending. How disappointing that what could have kick-started the recovery for many small to large businesses and 100's of thousands of workers, was squandered paying billions in bonuses to the *******'s who caused the mess we're in now... :)

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BANGKOK 25 September 2018 02:45
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