Seaside resorts in Phuket to remain closed for several months

by | 18 Jun 2020 | News

Phuket’s tourism industry has been hit hard by Covid19.

Phuket hotels geared towards international travellers are expected to keep their doors shut for some time yet as coronavirus suppresses demand.

Beachside properties on the popular Thai island of Phuket may well be closed for several months longer, as locals face up to the enormous impact of Covid19 on the travel and tourism sector. We find out more.

Hotels count the cost of low tourism levels

Seaside hotels in the popular holiday destination of Phuket are likely to remain closed until the final quarter of 2020, reports the Bangkok Post. These properties, which are heavily reliant on international tourists, have already experienced a huge decline in revenue due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, but travellers from overseas are not expected to return to the island for some time to come.

According to the Phuket branch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the focus for the coming months will be on domestic tourism, with international tourism from Asia expected to recover from the start of 2021. It is thought that tourism from Europe will not resume at any significant rate until much later.

Suksit Suvunditkul, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern branch, said: “The situation is unpredictable, but as July and August are low seasons, resuming operations is not worth the effort while guest demand is still weak. With some hotels not reopening until the fourth quarter, they cannot expect to profit.”

Staycation vouchers fail to win over locals

Like many others, the world over, hotels in Phuket have been resorting to novel means in an effort to generate more business.

Some properties are selling staycation vouchers to locals enabling them to buy now and choose their exact dates later, usually offering discounts of up to 50% on the normal price, although their effectiveness is relatively low. “This promotion is not attractive to locals, as the pandemic is likely to keep tourists within three-hour drives from home as people avoid boarding planes to long-distance destinations,” explained Suvunditkul.

Travel restrictions are still in place in Thailand, with an international flight ban continuing until the end of June, but while some Phuket properties plan to reopen in September, the majority may wait for the lifting of the mandatory 14-day quarantine due to take place in Q4 2020. Domestic tourism is also likely to be boosted when the local airport in Phuket finally reopens.

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