Phuket hopes to attract more Asian tourists to the resort island as the number of European tourists dwindles during the current low season.
Phuket Tourism Council chairman Thanet Tantipiriyakit said only about 3,000 foreign tourists were now arriving in Phuket each day on average.
"This is a small number compared to what we saw in 2019. Many people are avoiding travel due to issues, including the conflict in eastern Europe. We need to target different groups," he said.
Thanet said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Phuket Tourism Council were planning to promote Thailand as a tourist destination in short-haul markets, including India, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The conflict in Ukraine, Covid-19, rising oil prices and high inflation rate were stymieing tourism, he explained.
"Phuket has earned about 60 billion baht in revenue since the government endorsed the Phuket Sandbox scheme. Still, we used to generate in excess of 470 billion baht a year before Covid-19," Thanet said.
Pisut Saeku, president of the Thai Hotels Association's eastern chapter, however said more tourists were expected soon as the Thailand Pass scheme for Thais will be stopped on June 1 while the information requirements for foreigners will be reduced.
Pisut predicted the country could see a 50 per cent rise in the number of tourists by the end of the year during the next peak season.
The tourists are expected to be mainly from India and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the Post also reports that four out of five Covid-19 vaccination centres in Phuket were now closed, as most of the local population had already received their doses and demand for vaccines was declining.
Dr Withita Jangiam, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital and head of the Saphan Hin vaccination centre, said its 1,500 staff had administered 600,000 doses since it opened on April 1 last year.
The only operating vaccination centre still operating on the island is at the X-Terminal Building of Phuket International Airport.
In addition to Saphan Hin, three other centres — at Jungceylon shopping centre in Patong district, Angsana Laguna Phuket in Thalang and Phuket Orchid Resort in Muang district — are now closed.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said 81.5 per cent of the Thai population have now received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, 75.5 per cent at least two shots and 40.3 per cent at least one booster shot.
The number of Covid cases has also been declining steadily, with authorities on Saturday reporting 4,488 new cases and 38 more fatalities.
The reducing trend has led authorities to remove a number of restrictions on local residents as well as foreign visitors.
This in turn has led to a steady rise in tourism, which plays a pivotal part in the nation's economy.
The CCSA also reported that between May 1 and 27, there were 490,637 arrivals from overseas, of whom 88,915 were Thais and 401,772 were foreigners.
Of the total, 158 Thais and 332 foreigners underwent a five-day quarantine.
The top 10 foreign arrivals were from Singapore with 68,435 visitors, India (58,716), Vietnam (25,273), Malaysia (24,804), Cambodia (21,087), the United States (20,407), the United Kingdom (18,255), Australia (18,077), the United Arab Emirates (14,933) and Germany (13,346).
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