Thailand's famous resort island of Phuket reels in financial pain triggered by COVID-19
Thailand's famous resort island of Phuket on Tuesday pleaded state and private sectors to help support its tourism industry as the COVID-19 pandemic had cost the island 400 billion baht (US$12.75 million) in losses since the ban on entry of foreigners was launched in late March.
"Phuket is reeling from financial pain," said Phuket governor Narong Woonciew to the local media in the island, "the only way we can bring back economic prosperity to the island is to open our doors to foreign tourists quickly."
"Last year Phuket was able to accommodate 14 million tourists, with 10 million comprising of foreign tourists," said Narong," we also saw about 300 flights per day."
He said the flights this year had slumped to just 81 flights each day, and most of them are inter-provincial flights.
The Phuket governor also said that the pandemic had costs 40,000 jobs, while those who still have their jobs, saw a slash of 20 to 90 percent in their wages.
Of all the hotels available in Phuket, only 30 percent are in operation, the governor said.
Since the ban on foreign tourists is still in effect, Phuket can only ask the whole Thailand, both state and private sectors, to visit the island and help its people survive the economic turbulence.
The Thai government had recently approved the new "Special Tourist Visa," allowing foreign tourists to stay in Thailand for as long as 90 days after a 14-day quarantine.
According to Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisaranakul, the 90-day visa will take effect in the beginning of October.