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07/02/2011 - Phuket, Thailand cashes in on Chinese Year of the Rabbit

07/02/2011 - Phuket, Thailand cashes in on Chinese Year of the Rabbit

huket is already reaping the rewards from the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, as tourists flock to the Island for the festivities.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is predicting that the revenue from tourism over the festive period will beat last year’s total of eight billion baht.

Over the last few days, hotels across Phuket have been reporting occupancy levels at around ninety percent.

The President of the Thai Hotels Association, Prakit Chinamournphong, commented; “Many Chinese tourists booked their New Year holidays in Phuket well in advance. This has helped boost occupancy rates for the three and four-star hotels during the month to an average of eight-five to ninety per cent.”

The Phuket Merlin Hotel, located in the heart of Phuket Town, was almost at capacity during the Chinese New Year, with its average occupancy reaching eighty percent.

Reservations officer at the Phuket Merlin, Duangduan Vichit, said; “Phuket Town is a popular tourist attraction for Chinese tourists, who prefer to stay there during the New Year festivities because of the town’s cultural charms, which make for a good atmosphere during the festival.”

Indeed, Phuket Town is steeped in Chinese heritage and has many inhabitants of Chinese decent. In the Chinatown area in the north-west part of Phuket Town, tourists can visit several Chinese temples; such as, Put Jaw, a two hundred year-old Chinese Taoist temple, and Jui Tui, a larger and more modern temple.

The President of the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association, Wichit Prakobkosol, explained that many Chinese tourists had reserved package tours to Phuket during the Chinese New Year Festival. He continued that, this year there will be 150 charter flights from China to Phuket - an almost 200 percent increase over 2010, whilst for Bangkok the growth in arrivals will only be around 50 percent.

Deputy-head of marketing for TAT's Asia Pacific Region, Sarasern Gnowrangsi, added; “During the [Chinese] New Year Festival, 130,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Thailand, generating 3.5 billion baht from Chinese-inbound tourists alone”.





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