Phuket in top ten leisure destinations in Mastercard Global Destinations Index report
Phuket was in the top ten cities of the 2018 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index: Play, which rates international destinations with the highest concentration of visitors traveling for relaxation and leisure, not business. Bali, in Indonesia, came in 7th and was the only other Asian destination on the list. In Phuket 93 percent of visitors are there for leisure activity, the majority of which are Chinese travelers who spent around $US239 on leisure per visitor per day.
New marina projects along both the East and West coasts are expected to boost marine tourism in Thailand; targeted locations for possible new marinas include Chumphon, Trat and Sattahip district in Chon Buri, Koh Samui and Prachuap Khiri Khan. Development is subject to further study and some projects may be built by the private sector. Currently there are four marinas operating in Thailand; three in the Gulf in Pattaya, Koh Chang, and Pranburi and one in the Andaman in Phuket. International yacht visitors have grown after the government allowed them to stay 12 months instead of six months and the lower costs of rental, maintenance and service make Thailand more attractive than its neighbors with fewer berths according to the harbour master of Ocean Marina Yacht Club Pattaya in a Bangkok Post report. The government is working to boos the Thai Riviera scheme promoting marine tourism and Pattaya had more than 14 million visitors in 2017, a number expected to grow with the expansion of U-tapao International Airport.
Ctrip, the Shanghai based travel services provider, is launching gourmet food recommendations to Thailand for its Chinese clients. The company has offered gourmet food ratings in China since 2016 in addition to its one stop services including accommodation reservation, transport ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management. The new Ctrip Gourmet List for Bangkok will provide Chinese visitors with a Chinese rating system for Thai restaurants. Already added to the list are over 300 hundred restaurants selected by committee members, judges, and gourmet hunters. According to Ctrip one-fifth of all outbound Chinese travelers visited Thailand in 2017.
Thai Smile airlines will be adding new routes in August and October after the ICAO lifted the red flag on Thai carriers last year. The subsidiary of Thai Airways will be flying to Kolkata, India from Bangkok in August, and will take over the existing Thai Airways Phuket – Hong Kong route in October as well as institute new routes from Bangkok to Hong Kong and Hangzhou. The budget airline is also increasing charter flights to Fukuoka in Japan as well as increasing regularly scheduled flights to Chongqing, Changsha, and Guangzhou in China and Bombay in India. The airline is also looking to increase domestic flights to Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, and Udon Thani.
In June alone 26 foreign companies were granted business licenses to operate in Thailand, investing a total of 1.522 billion baht and employing 320 Thai nationals. Twenty-two of those companies are in the service industry. So far this year the Ministry of Commerce has issued licenses to 140 foreign firms with a total value of registered capital over 7 billion baht.