Phuket hails return of mega cruise ships after 2 years in COVID-19 doldrums
BANGKOK — The world’s mega-cruise ships returned to Phuket after two years as the 5,600-berth Spectrum of the Sea docked at Patong Beach Pier on Monday.
The Singapore-based cruise ship – one of the world’s largest – was carrying 4,594 tourists from 59 countries, mainly Singapore, Malaysia, India, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Governor Narong Woonciew said it was the first large cruise ship to dock in Phuket in two years after Covid-19 crippled the tourism island’s economy.
He hailed its arrival as a strong sign that Phuket tourism is starting to pick up, explaining that cruise ship passengers usually have high spending power.
“We expect to see more cruise ships visiting Phuket, with about one vessel per week in the coming months,” Narong said.
Amissara Jitharn, manager at Sea Tour travel agents, said about 800 Spectrum of the Sea passengers had bought one-day tour packages to see Phuket’s beaches and other attractions.
The day trips cost from 500-1,000 baht per person depending on the itinerary. However, the price can rise to 3,000 baht if packages include visits to attractions outside Phuket such as Ko Phi Phi in Krabi or Phang Nga Bay.
She added that the company had also notified tourists that the Patong-Kathu highway has been closed to vehicles after being damaged in a landslide last Wednesday.
“Foreign tourists understand the situation and don’t think it will affect their travel experience that much,” she said.
Pre-pandemic in 2019, Phuket welcomed 154 cruise ships carrying a total of 485,598 passengers and crew.
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