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30 Sep 2005


Tsunami Deals a Blow to Phuket Vegetarian Festival: Lower than Expected Tourism Income


This year Phuket Vegetarian Festival, co-organized by the Phuket provincial authorities, Chinese temples and other related agencies during October 3-11, 2005 will be more spectacular than ever. The grand celebration will symbolize an auspicious occasion for the Island, hard hit by the Tsunami disaster on December 26, 2005. The event will also be among key activities launched to spur tourism in Phuket during the final quarter of this year.

The tourism market in the Island has seen a serious setback since the Tsunami crisis. This is particularly true for the Asian tourist market that has been dropping steadily. However, some airlines have just reopened their flights to Phuket to accommodate the flow of tourists expected to come back to the destination during the forthcoming tourist high season. In other seaside tourist spots namely Pattaya and Chumphon, etc., Kin Jae Festival is also a highlight activity to draw tourists. In these circumstances, tourism in Phuket during Phuket Vegetarian Festival is likely to be less active than what was seen in previous years.

Kasikorn Research Center (KRC) expects that the number of Thai and foreign travelers visiting Phuket during Kin Jae Festival will drop by 30 percent from last year, thus generating tourism-related income of some THB2.5 billion, down by more than 30 percent from the same period in 2004. Of this, around 28 percent or some THB700 million will go to hotels in this seaside destination. It is expected that around 54 hotels in the downtown area, with a total of some 4,095 rooms, will see a high occupancy rate. Staying in these hotels, it is convenient for tourists to take part in rituals held by each Chinese shrine, view the Buddhist Image Procession around the city as well as other exciting events, i.e., firewalking, climbing knife ladders, etc.