Phuket tourism recovers in the last two quarters of 2019 after a whole year slump

Propelled by the addition of direct flights from major Indian cities

Couple posing in Phi Phi island.

Tourist arrivals during the last two quarters of 2019 helped Phuket’s tourism sector recover, particularly due to the substantial surge in Indian tourists, reported The Thaiger, citing the Phuket Hotel Market Update by C9 Hotelworks.

Based on the data gathered, the addendum of direct flights from Bengaluru, Dehli, and Mumbai multiplied the numbers by 298 percent compared to the same quarter in 2018.

The year-on-year passenger arrivals dropped by negative four percent in the first quarter and by negative seven percent in the second quarter of 2019. The number of tourists arriving from Australia and Europe, particularly Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia declined. Travellers from China even hit a negative nine percent year-on-year growth rate.

Concerns regarding the US-China trade war, uncertainty with the global economy, and strength of the local currency all led to the downward slump.

More: Foreign buyers are now looking to invest in Phuket resorts, says JLL

Nevertheless, passenger arrivals bounced back at three percent in the third quarter and at eight percent in the fourth quarter with eight percent, thanks to the tourists from Singapore, Malaysia, and India.

The tourist arrivals at Phuket International Airport is predicted to be around 9,109,487 in 2019, with an eight percent increase in the December year-on-year monthly 2019 figure.

In light of the media reports claiming that most Phuket hotels were “half empty” throughout the year, Managing Director at C9 Hotelworks Bill Barnett has this to say: “[The] current 2019 data that reflects over nine million passenger arrivals at Phuket International Airport and hotel occupancy levels for the year in the low 70’s is contrary to the media claims which are unsupported by a lack of metrics or attribution.”

“While 2019 saw a slight drop in occupancy and marked reduction in average rates and RevPAR [revenue per available room], these are mainly attributed to an appreciating Thai baht and reaction to increased competition in leisure destinations. The latter part of 2019 trending showed higher demand which is encouraging, but seasonable challenges remain a key challenge.”