Half of all tourists to Phuket this year were Indian but they arrived to find half the island’s hotels still closed.
Suksit Suvunditkul, president of Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter, said Phuket hotels posted an average occupancy rate of 40%, with Indians, Australians, Brits and Singaporean mostly filling the rooms.
From May 1-June 25, 52,227 Indians arrived in Phuket, more than double the number of travelers from Singapore, which ad 19,298 arrivals.
Phuket now has direct flights to India on Thai Smile Airways, Go First Airlines and Indigo Airlines from New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai.
Next month, 15 airlines will fly 58 direct flights to Phuket, bringing in more Indians, plus Arabs from the U.A.E. and Qatar. More flights will connect the island to Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Israel and the United Kingdom.
Planes are running 80% full, Suksit said.
Despite the increased tourism, half of Phuket’s hotels remain closed and do not expect to reopen until the traditional high season.
Suksit said hoteliers don’t expect to see any real recovery until Phuket again can attract the 3 million Chinese visitors it had in 2019.
Phuket also is happy to continuing welcoming Russians with Tourism Authority of Thailand Gov. Yuthasak Supasorn said at least 450,000 airline seats are ready to take visitors to Thailand eastern Russia in the fourth quarter.
But TAT is unhappy that scheduled flights are still largely frozen due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So the agency is working to arrange charter flights from Russian cities to countries where the incoming tourists can connect to Thailand.