Although Thailand's inbound tourism was jeopardized by political strife during 1H14 and foreign tourist confidence toward safety here has waned as martial law is still in place, Phuket remains resilient as a popular holiday destination for Thai and foreign tourists alike, due partly to the proliferation of direct flights to the resort island, famous for its pristine beaches and unique culture.
During 2H14, it is expected that Phuket tourism will begin to thrive in September, thanks to the “Kin Jae” festival (with the first period starting in September instead of October as is customary the case) that will attract Asian tourists of Chinese descent, for instance from Malaysia and Singapore to partake that ritual, particularly Chinese tourists who typically travel abroad, with Asian countries as their preferred holiday destinations during the 7-day long National Holiday, October 1-7.
Thus, we at KResearch expect that the number of tourist arrivals to Phuket during the first “Kin Jae” period, September 24-October 2, will increase by 14 percent YoY to 258,000, helping generate THB3.1 billion, up 18.2 percent YoY for local related-travel businesses.
In addition, because many European holiday makers will escape winter weather at home for tropical refuge along the Andaman coast – with Phuket as a magnet – around the yearend high season, while there will be many water-sport events organized to promote tourism, such as the 4th Asian Beach Games in November, and 26th Phuket King's Cup Regatta in December, Phuket tourism will continue to grow during the final four months of 2014.
Given this, KResearch expects that the number of Thai and international tourist arrivals to Phuket overall for 2014 should reach about 13 million, up 8.7 percent YoY, helping generate THB279 billion in tourism revenue for the province, rising 9 percent YoY (against 11.8 percent YoY growth in 2013). However, there are many factors that warrant close monitoring, including economic prospects in targeted European markets and confidence toward safety here.