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Tourism Authority of Thailand

Buoyant tourism in Phuket during New Year festival

Tourism in Phuket hit a record high during the New Year`s festival…

Tourism in Phuket hit a record high during the New Year`s festival, which was believed to have generated more than Bt500 million in revenue, while Phangnga remains low-key, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) officials.

Occupancy at hotels along beaches and in the city of Phuket during the long New Year`s weekend was up to 90 per cent. Tourists at in-city hotels were mainly Thais, while foreign holiday makers, mainly Europeans, mostly chose accommodation near beaches.

Estimated revenue generated during the festive New Year celebration in the resort island was expected to exceed Bt500 million, said Suvalai Pinpradab, head of the TAT office in Phuket.

However, she said, after the new year festival the hotel occupancy rate in Phuket might be down to 70 per cent for nearly a month before it bounces back again during February-March, and the high rate occupancy will last until the rainy low season.

The overall picture of Phuket tourism has improved, much better than last year when it was badly affected by the tsunami, said Mrs. Suvalai.

TAT`s Phuket office director anticipated low key tourism throughout the year in Phangnga, worst-hit of the tsunami-affected provinces, with the expected hotel occupancy rate at 25 per cent due to incomplete reconstruction of hotels and resorts damaged by the disaster in late 2004.

Tourism in Phang-nga in 2006 will not be much different from last year because many hotels remain under construction and restoration after the tsunami, she said.

Most tourists visiting the province this year are those who come to commemorate the tsunami, she said.

But tourism in Phang-nga will be more buoyant in 2007 as some 3,000 hotel rooms would be ready to serve visitors, up from the 1,200 rooms available now.

And the Golden Supannahong Awards — the annual Thai Films Festival to be held in Phangnga next year — will also help publicize the province`s tourist attractions.

Theodore Koumelis
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