Positive Vibes in Phuket One Year After the Phuket Sandbox, with Sumi Soorian of the Phuket Hotels Association
"Time has really flown in the year since we started the Phuket Sandbox." Exactly one year ago, on 1 July 2021, Thailand initiated the Phuket Sandbox to kickstart inbound travel after 16 months of tourism inactivity. Four months later, it was replaced by the Test & Go Scheme. Phuket is now buzzing. A mix of domestic and inbound tourists saw it welcome 1.7 million visitors in the first 5 months of 2022. This week, Gary and Hannah discuss Phuket's impressive progress with Sumi Soorian, Executive Director of the Phuket Hotels Association. Sumi discusses how the hospitality and tourism sectors have adapted over the past 12 months. We also discuss shifts in Phuket's key inbound markets and interesting trends in meetings, weddings and domestic travel. Plus, we look at human resource challenges for hotels, shorter booking windows and room rates and occupancy. Now, as Thailand removes virtually all of its pandemic restrictions, what is the outlook for Phuket 12 months after it pioneered the revival of tourism in South East Asia?