Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew has revealed the nearly 70% all tourism businesses across Phuket remain closed due to the economic impact of COVID19.
According to data collected by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), 30.4% of businesses in Phuket are now open as normal, he told a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on Tuesday held to discuss strategies to accelerate economic recovery and tourism to expedite aid to people affected by COVID 19.
Citing the data, Governor Narong explained that 66.8% of all tourism business are still “closed temporarily”, and 2.8% had closed permanently.
“By the end of September, the number of businesses to be closed will increase up to 70% for sure,” he said.
The DEPA report also marked that 50% of staff working in the Phuket tourism industry were Phuket natives, while 34.3% of staff came from other provinces in Southern Thailand. The rest, 15.7%, were from other parts of Thailand, Governor Narong explained.
Speaking yesterday (Sept 23) at the launch of a “Sufficiency Economy Center” educational centre set up in Srisoonthorn, Governor Narong assured that Phuket was “almost 100% ready to welcome foreign tourists”.
Governor Narong explained that at this stage there is no second wave of COVID-19 in Thailand.
“However, we have to work and prepare carefully to welcome foreign tourists… We have to gradually open our door to welcome small groups of people first, in order to test our system, and then open for bigger groups,” he said.
“If you ask whether foreign tourists will come on Oct 1 or not, I cannot give an answer today, but we have already prepared every step, from checking at the airport to quarantine at the hotels,” Governor Narong said.
New temperature-checking machines will be installed at Phuket International Airport next Monday (Sept 28) and the review of the procedures for welcoming foreign tourists is still ongoing, he said.
“Officers from the Department of Disease Control will come to install the temperature-checking machines and test the procedures in place by themselves,” he added.
“All hotels registered to be venues for alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) have to cooperate with hospitals,” Governor Narong also noted.
However, even today only two hotels, registered as three separate venues, have been approved by the CCSA to operate as alternative local state quarantine accommodations: 100 available rooms at the Anantara Phuket Suites & Villas and 36 villas available at the Anantara Mai Khao Phuket; and 15 villas available at the Trisara resort.
Governor Narong also said yesterday that the government’s domestic tourism campaign had so far seen nearly 20,000 village health volunteers from all parts of the country travel to Phuket.
However, he noted, “Their visits can help solve some of our economic problems, but they cannot replace the need of foreign tourists.”
Governor Narong pointed out that before the pandemic, Phuket generated around B450 billion a year from tourism – B400bn was generated from foreign tourists, and the remaining B50bn was generated from Thai tourists, he said. – PhuketNews