Governor of Phuket pleads for help to restore its devastated economy

22 Sep 2020

As he pleads for aid to rebuild his ruined economy, the governor of Phuket has compared the southern province to a 'patient in a coma'. According to a Bangkok Post story, Governor Narong Woonciew of Phuket addressed a forum of the Public Health Organization, highlighting the economic turmoil triggered by the continuing ban on foreign visitors. The international airport on the island closed in April, closing down the influx of international visitors and reducing the drain of international funds into the tourism industry of the island. 

The latest estimates indicate that, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Phuket has suffered over 400 billion baht. The island's economy relies on a constant influx of foreign tourism, either directly or indirectly, 90 percent, and has seen a huge increase in visitor facilities over the past 20 years, including hotels, hotels, tour vessels, tour buses, and commuter cars, foreign exhibits, modern bridges, restaurants and rentals, all targeted at the several tiers of budgets for travelers. 

Governor Narong expects that next year the province will experience similar difficulties, and calls on the government to arrange conferences and other activities that will draw more provincial tourists. 

To date, 15,000 village health volunteers in the south have been welcomed by the province to fly and spend time in the province, while today's seminar (Phuket Hotels Association) brings in 10,000 participants and backers and will mitigate some of the misery.' 

PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, meanwhile, says the forum offers those participating the chance to exchange information and advise on tackling the transmission of disease, discussing all public health initiatives through presentations and contests. 

Every year, Phuket normally receives approximately 14 million tourists, with about 10-11 million coming from outside Thailand. Typically, the airport accepts up to 300 international flights a day, but now receives just around 80 flights a day, since the foreign flight ban began in April.

Narong claims an approximate 40,000 of the island's employees are already unemployed, although heavy wage cuts of anywhere from 20% to a heavy 90% have been made by those already working. Of the province's hotels, fewer than 30 percent are actually available. 

"Phuket is like an ICU patient in a coma. So, all players ought to help rebuild Phuket as soon as possible. 

A long-stay visa (the Unique Tourist Visa) has recently been issued by the Cabinet for visitors who want to visit the Monarchy, but critics argue that the stringent criteria, along with the extortionate expense of the required 14-day quarantine, render it unworkable. The latest visa also demands that travelers may arrive on exclusive charter or private plane aircraft, thus introducing extra costs and constraints.

Source Thaiger