Recently, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made a pledge to boost the tourism industry on the picturesque island of Phuket. He is determined to expand airport facilities in anticipation of a projected rise in global visitor traffic during the much-awaited high season in November. Friday found Mr. Srettha and the Pheu Thai Party’s tourism policy committee, led by Dr. Prommin Lertsuridej, in Phuket engaging with locals, and gathering views from private sector representatives on prospective avenues for bolstering the tourism sector on the island.
On their itinerary, a scheduled visit to Phangnga was set for the following day. A flying visit to Phuket airport brought Mr. Srettha and his team across with the airport’s officials for an update on the ongoing expansion of the airport. This expansion is aimed to embolden its capacity to accommodate an escalating number of tourists.
Later in the day, Mr. Srettha discussed Phuket’s development strategies with members of the island’s private sector at the well-known Ramada Plaza Chao Fah Phuket Hotel. Despite Pheu Thai not securing a single House seat in Phuket, Mr. Srettha emphasized the paramount importance he attaches to the island. Phuket was the first province he opted to visit after his election to prime minister.
Delving into the economic realities of the day, Mr. Srettha highlighted that while the economic growth for the second quarter was sluggish in comparison to other countries, growing by less than 2%, tourism has the potential to be the game-changer for the economy in the fourth quarter. He stressed the importance of forgetting about political affiliations in favor of focusing on the best interests of the country.
Mr. Srettha enthusiastically articulated his belief that tourism is the key to accelerating growth in the quick turn-around when the economy significantly slackens. His main goals behind his visit to Phuket comprise active listening and collective opinions from the locale, not issuing orders. He’s eager to prepare business operators for future developments by making them aware of the Pheu Thai government’s upcoming actions.
Pheu Thai is prepared to propel the tourism sector forward by taking on crucial issues such as the airlines, airports, security, visa exemptions for certain nations, and extended stays. Phuket airport’s expansion is on the front burner, and Pheu Thai is making strides towards the implementation of additional facilities and transportation networks to support this enlargement.
Going forward, Mr. Srettha is keen on hearing views from all sectors in Phuket. Speaking about his journey to Phuket on Friday, he divulged his intention to understand tourism-related issues in the province, especially those concerning the airport.
Even amid an economic slowdown in China and the government’s discouragement of foreign travel, Chinese tourists continue to flock to Thailand. As Mr. Srettha emphasized, tourism in Phuket remains a major contributor to Thailand’s economy.
The director of Phuket airport, Monchai Tanode, has confirmed that the airport accommodates around 40,000 arrivals per day. This number spiked to 56,000 during the high season in 2019. Mr. Srettha plans to converse with The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council about a proposed project to construct an airport in Phangnga. He assured that the project is already part of the blueprint.