Phuket Governor Pleads for Help as Island’s Economy in Severe Crisis

Phuket Deserted

On Monday, Phuket’s governor asked all stakeholders to help restore its economy as quickly as possible after figures show the province has lost more than 400 billion baht since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The resort island is suffering a severe crisis as the tourists it needs so much have been kept away by the travel ban introduced to control the pandemic, Narong Woonciew told a Public Health Association (PHA) forum.

Mr Woonciew said Phuket usually had 14 million tourists per year, 10 million of them foreigners, arriving on 300 flights each day. These had slumped to just 81 flights a day and tens of thousands of domestic visitors at an estimated annualised rate.

He added that 40,000 workers had lost their jobs and even those still in work had lost 20-90% of their income, while only 30% of all hotels were still open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible,” Mr Woonciew said.

He said the resort province was launching several packages to attract local and foreign tourists.

Next year, it might be still facing the same situation, so the government can help by organising seminars to draw large amounts of attendees to the province, he said.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the South to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship,” he said.

PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa said the forum “Step to New Normal In Primary Health Care” was a chance to share ideas in order to tackle future challenges and raise people’s understanding of how to prevent the virus spreading.

Research presentations, competitions and award ceremonies have all been organised to cover all activities in the public health field, he said.

District and tambon public health clinics were also playing a key role in the promotion of quality health, disease prevention and application of first aid.

The government reported on Monday that the country had no new coronavirus cases and the total remained at 3,506, with 59 deaths.

The update was provided by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).