While most people want the upcoming ‘Phuket sandbox’ to kick off successfully on July 1st, especially when they know how economically devastated the tourist-dependent Thai island now is, it is looking increasingly likely few holidaymakers will book a vacation on the Thai island in July, 2021.
Not after they watch one of the many YouTube videos shot by locals in the last couple of months, and conclude quickly most of Phuket is a ghost town and not a place any tourist wanting a fun and interesting holiday would want to visit.
Especially as, with July 1st just over two weeks away, it is unlikely what Phuket looks like now will change that much so fast.
To make things worse, it has already been announced by Phuket authorities all bars on Phuket will be closed for the July 1st opening, as will all entertainment venues.
Thousands of stores, restaurants, cafes, hotels and other businesses are also likely to remain shuttered as, for many business owners, opening their businesses for a tiny number of international tourists will simply cause them to lose more money than they already have since severe government Covid-19 restrictions began in March, 2020.
With most of Phuket a ghost town, and with foreigners living on the island warning up to 95% of businesses are still closed depending on the area, it looks likely at the moment that any tourist visiting Phuket in early July will be faced with nothing much but empty beaches and desolation.
Throw in the other restrictions — mandatory mask wearing even on the beach, three Covid tests during the first 14 days of their stay, constant health checks, expensive hotels, a mandatory tracking app so their every move can be monitored by authorities — and my money is on the majority of tourists currently considering a vacation in Phuket in July deciding to go elsewhere in the world instead.
In fact, with the way authorities are managing the Phuket sandbox opening, and the panic still on-going in Thailand over a virus with a 99.5% recovery rate, it is more than likely it will be well into 2022 before Phuket gets the tourist numbers it needs for most Phuket businesses to survive.
Watch the videos above and below proving much of Phuket is a ghost town, and likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future, and then decide if that is the type of holiday you want to take.
Sadly, for most would-be tourists, and for the Phuket businesses whose survival is dependent on them coming, it is not.
With tourist revenues making up a fifth of Thailand’s GDP, a failed ‘Phuket sandbox’ will continue to negatively impact the national economy as well.