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Prayut to visit Phuket as tourism efforts fall flat

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  • Prayut to visit Phuket as tourism efforts fall flat

    The prime minister will visit Phuket on Monday (November 2) to discuss ways to restore the South’s Covid-battered tourism industry.

    The PM will meet with local business leaders and listen to their ideas on how to open tourist island to more visitors, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said on Thursday.

    The premier will also hear their requests for government remedial measures.

    The government’s so-called “Phuket Model”, proposed in August as a way of reopening Thailand to foreign tourists, now appears to have been shelved.

    According to a government report, revenue from foreign tourists has dropped to almost zero in Thailand since a flight ban was imposed at the end of March. Hotel occupancy rates were only 30 per cent in September, increasing from 13.4 per cent in June.

    The report indicated that hotels where the occupancy rate was rising were mostly in and around Bangkok. Meanwhile tourism in southern provinces, which are heavily reliant on foreign visitors, was in a very bad state.

    A representative from Phuket’s old town said an idea to promote the historic community as a tourism hotspot would be put to the prime minister on Monday.: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/...ernal_referral

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

  • #2
    Cabinet to map out recovery for South

    The mobile cabinet in Phuket will on Tuesday consider rescue packages for southern businesses severely affected by Covid-19, including soft loans for airlines and other tourism-related companies.

    Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the government would ask airlines to limit price increase to help stimulate domestic travel in exchange for soft loans.

    Airline operators had asked the Finance Ministry in August to approve a 24-billion-baht soft loan budget to help depleted businesses resume normal operations but the ministry did not reply at that time.

    As for the ministry's assistance for tourism-related businesses, Mr Arkhom said it would launch more low-interest loan programmes to help businesses maintain cash flow.

    Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said he would ask for 1.5 billion baht to hire unemployed people in the six Andaman coastal provinces.

    Mr Suchart said the money would be allocated from the government's 400-billion-baht budget for economic recovery in Phuket, Trang, Satun, Phangnga, Krabi and Ranong for 10 months. About 500 million baht would be allocated to Phuket to hire 8,000 people and the remaining provinces would receive 200 million baht each to hire around 2,000-3,000 people, he said.

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday pledged to speed up the rebuilding of the tourism sector in the South, especially on Koh Samui and Phuket.

    The PM presided over a meeting in Phuket on tourism rehabilitation in the province with cabinet ministers, provincial governors and representatives of the public and private sector.

    Phuket proposed to the premier urgent and long-term measures to rehabilitate its battered economy.

    The province asked the government to extend the "We Travel Together" programme until Dec 31, 2021, promote meetings and seminars in the province and increase weekend flights from Bangkok.

    Phuket's long-term priorities include infrastructure development, a medical tourism project to develop the province as a world-class medical hub and incentives for companies to set up offices there.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...very-for-south

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

    Comment


    • #3
      State pushes for Phuket recovery

      The government has pledged to accelerate its efforts to rehabilitate Phuket's tourism industry, which has been pounded by the pandemic on both its short-term and long-term goals.

      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha already ordered his advisory team, led by Thosaporn Sirisamphand, former secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), to finalise the proposals put forward by the private sector to rebuild the tourism industry in Phuket.

      According to Danucha Pichayanan, the NESDC secretary-general, the advisory team is expected to conclude its work shortly and will soon submit the proposals to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA).

      "Covid-19 has delivered a heavy blow to Phuket's tourism, as 90% of the sector's annual revenue is generated by foreign tourists," he said.

      Phuket employed about 170,000-180,000 people in the tourism sector prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. Statistics from the Labour Ministry suggest this number has dwindled to just 80,000, said Mr Danucha.

      As a short-term measure to revitalise tourism in Phuket, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was ordered to study the possibility of extending the "We Travel Together" programme to December 2021 from January 2021.

      The TAT is also studying ways to improve the scheme, including raising the subsidies offered on hotel accommodation, available from Monday through Thursday, to 50% from its current level of 40%.

      The private sector also proposed tourists should be able to use tourism coupons for tour packages, car rentals and spa visits, not just for food.

      In addition, the subsidy on air tickets should be extended to cover car rental and petrol, he said.

      The Labour Ministry was ordered to consider a request for the government to contribute 7,500 baht a month to each worker at hotels, spas and tour companies for 12 months so they could be retained in their employment.

      Mr Danucha said if the government improves the subsidies available in the We Travel Together scheme or measures to help companies retain their employees, they should be implemented nationwide, not solely within Phuket province.

      As a long-term measure, he said the Transport Ministry is required to conduct a feasibility study regarding the construction of a 22.4-kilometre highway from Ban Muang Mai in Thalang district to Ban Ko Kaeo in Muang district of Phuket to ease traffic congestion.

      The new highway project is estimated to cost 30 billion baht, comprising 12 billion for its construction and 18 billion for land expropriation.

      The NESDC was ordered to study the possibility of upgrading Phuket to become a world-class wellness tourism location, with an investment estimated at 3 billion baht.

      This scheme includes four projects: an international medical centre; an international senior care hospital; a rehabilitation centre and a hospice home.

      Mr Danucha said the project would likely be implemented under a public-private partnership deal.

      Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of Phuket Tourist Association, said Phuket is forecast to lose about 200-320 billion baht worth of tourism revenue this year because of the pandemic.

      Phuket generated 470 billion baht in tourism revenue last year from 14.5 million visitors.

      Foreign visitors accounted for 90% of tourism revenue in Phuket province.

      In the first 10 months this year, Phuket reported 150 billion baht in tourism revenue -- 100 billion from foreign visitors and 50 billion from domestic tourism.

      Tourism revenue has fallen by 80% when compared with the same period last year.

      Mr Bhummikitti warned the pandemic may cause most tourism operators in Phuket to collapse without any additional aid measures from the government.

      He said Phuket is ready to welcome more foreign visitors, with 1,900 rooms allocated for use as alternative state quarantine hotel sites.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...huket-recovery


      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

      Comment


      • #4
        One can only feel sorry for the poor Tuk-tuk drivers and their mafia bosses.
        Dont get sick of me just yet, for I will be here for quite a while

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