Thailand’s tourism recovery is still in its early days but there are some signs that things are heading in the right direction. Most notably in Phuket where the number of international flights continues to increase.
Earlier in November, S7 restarted service from Russia to Phuket, joining Aeroflot as Russian carriers resuming Thailand-bound routes. According to reports, nearly 140 visitors were onboard the first S7 flight which departed from Irkutsk.
Services between Phuket and Australia are set to resume in December with Thai Airways announcing a non-stop Sydney-Phuket route. Additionally, low-cost carrier Jetstar has said it plans to restart service between the two cities in January.
The decision was made after the Australian government reversed a ban on citizens leaving the country without permission. Restrictions on vaccinated non-citizens are expected to be eased before the end of the year.
Currently, Thai Airways operates service from London, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Zurich to Phuket. Some of the routes are non-stop while others go through Bangkok.
According to the Phuket Tourism Council, there has also been a huge uptick in domestic tourism. There are now roughly 30 domestic flights arriving daily with these bringing an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 visitors to the island.
Looking ahead, local officials are optimistic regarding the tourism recovery in Phuket, although they understand the situation can change at a moment’s notice.
“It’s too early to assess revenue and tourist numbers right now, but we think that next year, throughout the whole year, there will be 2.6-3 million tourists if there are no events that cause travel to deteriorate,” Khun Bhummikitti Raktaengam, President of the Phuket Tourist Association, told the Phuket News. “The projected volume is still less than 30 percent compared with before the outbreak, and is based on the current situation. If things change, there could be more [visitors], or there could be less, we don’t know. Or if the rules change, we’ll have to look again.”