The recovery of tourist traffic has exposed infrastructure problems

15.11.2023
The recovery of tourist traffic has exposed infrastructure problems

The popular tourist center of Phuket is facing serious infrastructure problems amid the rapid recovery of tourist traffic after the pandemic. Experts warn that the island's outdated transportation system will not be able to cope with the influx of vacationers during the high season, leading to complete traffic paralysis.

Record tourist traffic has exposed chronic problems

According to research company C9 Hotelworks, Phuket's hotel occupancy exceeded 70% in the first half of 2023. This was made possible by a rapid increase in the number of international and domestic flights.

The main flow of tourists comes from Russia and China. The top five also include India, Australia and Kazakhstan. Experts are confident that by the end of the year the tourist flow will not only reach, but also surpass the pre-pandemic figures.

In parallel with the recovery of tourism, the population of the island has grown sharply. Thousands of workers in the tourism industry have returned here, as well as newcomers employed in construction and real estate. As a result, Phuket's outdated transportation infrastructure was not ready for such a load.

Complete transportation collapse is inevitable

According to experts, in the peak season of 2023-2024 Phuket will be a real transportation nightmare. Traffic jams will paralyze the island, creating huge inconveniences for both tourists and locals.

"Over the past decade, the authorities have failed to realize any major infrastructure project the island needs. No Patong-Katu tunnel, inter-island expressway or rail-based public transportation system has been built," Bill Barnett of C9 Hotelworks stated.

The government cites a lack of budgetary funding and hopes to attract private investment. However, so far these are only plans, and construction of a much-needed new airport has not even begun.

A set of measures to prevent collapse

Experts urge the authorities to develop and implement a strategic plan to modernize Phuket's infrastructure as soon as possible. It is necessary to establish close cooperation between the public and private sector to implement key projects, without waiting for a complete paralysis of the transportation system.

Priorities include attracting investment in the road network and public transportation, and simplifying bureaucratic procedures to get projects up and running quickly. The speed at which these challenges are addressed will determine whether Phuket can successfully capitalize on the tourism recovery and consolidate its status as a popular resort in Asia.

Author of the article: Ekaterina Antonova