There is an increasing trend in tourist arrivals to Phuket and over 5.5 million tourists visit Phuket annually.
The arrivals are recorded from European countries as well as Asian countries, Tourism Authority of Thailand Phuket Office Director Bangornrat Shinaprayoon told Daily News Business. Over 35 percent of tourist come from European countries while Asian countries such as China, Korea, India, Malaysia and Singapore top the list. However, Sri Lankan tourists are less than one percent and we promote Phuket as a destination for attract more visitors, she said.
The South Asian countries have become a growing market and direct connectivity among countries have benefited in attracting more tourists.
Phuket caters to a niche market where sports, adventure and beaches and beauty of the province are main attractions.
"We offer a family destination and it is well suited for honeymooners.
This is a different product and we will not compare Phuket with Bangkok where culture and shopping is centric.
"There will be a next phase of development and more investment in facilities such as infrastructure for tourists," she said.
The accommodation is available in Phuket in both forms, budget and star class facilities. The tourist season starts from November to April. There are a sufficient number of rooms with accommodation capacity of 40,000 rooms in 700 hotels.
Though there is no immediate plan for direct flights and there is constant connectivity from the city to Phuket as there are over 200 weekly flights from Bangkok to Phuket. There is a flight every hour.
The marketing propositions for Phuket are the beaches, boat rides, diving and related activities, islands, cultural attractions, theme park and water park and museums.
With the facilities we can accommodate more tourists and our target is to attract more visitors in the off season, especially Thai tourists and diversified Asian tourists.
There are opportunities for Buddhist pilgrims and religious tourism could play a major role," she said.
Medical tourism is another aspect that Phuket is concentrating as there are high standard treatment facilities available. There is a mega convention centre under construction to attract MICE tourism and has already attracted business with 10,000 participants in a meeting to be held next year.
Phuket being a world class destination in the tourism map has a variety of attractions for tourists. This is one destination that a visitor can select and find fulfilling. There is unique difference from other destinations. Phuket is an island that that is easy to travel and access is convenient.
The airport capacity building project is currently under way and with the completion of the project in three years 12.5 million tourists could be accommodated.