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How many tourists visit Phuket each year

Ah, Phuket—the pearl of the Andaman Sea. This Thai island has been a magnet for tourists for decades. Ever wondered why? Apart from its breathtaking beaches and rich cultural history, it’s also one of Thailand’s primary economic drivers, particularly in the tourism sector.

Objective of the Article

Are you thinking about heading to Phuket for your next vacation, or are you just curious about its popularity? This article dives deep into the numbers and more, answering the golden question: How many tourists visit Phuket each year?

The Historical Perspective

Trends Over the Years

If you look back a couple of decades, you’ll see a steady upward trend in tourism to Phuket. From the mid-’90s until the early 2000s, the number of tourists doubled and even tripled.

How Natural Disasters Affected Tourism

Remember the 2004 tsunami? It was a setback, no doubt, but Phuket bounced back stronger, showing resilience and an ability to recover.

Current Data and Statistics

Yearly Figures

Based on data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket saw over 9 million tourists in 2019. The figures fluctuate, but that gives a ballpark idea.

To fully grasp the flow of tourists to Phuket, a year-by-year breakdown is invaluable. Below is a table that provides a comprehensive look at the number of tourists from 2015 to 2023:

Year Number of Tourists (Millions) % Change From Previous Year
2015 6.5 N/A
2016 7.2 +10.8%
2017 8.1 +12.5%
2018 8.9 +9.9%
2019 9.3 +4.5%
2020 4.1 -56.0%
2021 5.7 +39.0%
2022 7.5 +31.6%
2023 (Estimated) 8.4 +12.0% (Estimated)

Seasonal Variations

High season, low season—does it make a difference? Absolutely! While November to February sees a tourist boom, May to October can be a bit quieter.

Demographics of Tourists

Countries of Origin

Most tourists hail from China, Russia, and Australia, but there’s also a good mix from Europe and the Americas.

Types of Tourists

tourists visit phuket each year

From solo backpackers to luxury-seeking retirees, Phuket has something for everyone.

Why Tourists Choose Phuket


Think Phuket, think beaches. Patong, Karon, Kata—you name it. The beaches are among the top draws for tourists.


From temples to traditional dances, Phuket’s culture is a melting pot that every tourist wants to experience.


Whether you’re into scuba diving or just want to chill at a beach bar, Phuket offers a range of activities that cater to all kinds of travelers.

Economic Impact

Revenue Generation

Tourism in Phuket contributes a massive amount to the Thai economy. The exact figures can be jaw-dropping.

Job Creation

Tourism supports various sectors—hotels, transport, retail, and more, providing jobs to thousands.

Environmental Impact

Positive Aspects

Eco-tourism is on the rise, with many tourists now opting for sustainable travel options.

Negative Aspects

But let’s face it, tourism also has its downsides—be it pollution or erosion of local traditions.

Government and Tourism

Promotional Activities

The Thai government heavily invests in promoting Phuket as a top-tier travel destination through campaigns and travel incentives.


With the influx of tourists, regulations have become tighter to ensure both the safety of visitors and the preservation of the island.

H2: How COVID-19 Affected Phuket Tourism

Initial Impact

Like everywhere else, COVID-19 hit Phuket’s tourism hard. 2020 saw a significant decrease in tourists, going down by more than half.

Recovery Efforts

Phuket has been proactive in vaccinating its population and implementing safety protocols to welcome back tourists.

Future Projections

Upcoming Trends

Digital nomad visas, wellness tourism, and more—Phuket aims to diversify the type of tourists it attracts.

Challenges Ahead

From climate change to over-tourism, challenges abound, but they are not insurmountable.


Phuket remains a popular destination, with millions visiting each year. The reasons are many—beautiful beaches, rich culture, and a plethora of activities.


So, next time you hear someone contemplating a trip to Phuket, you know you’ve got the scoop on what draws people to this fantastic island.


Q: How has COVID-19 impacted tourism in Phuket?

A: It had a severe impact initially, but recovery efforts are in place, including mass vaccination and safety protocols.

Q: When is the best time to visit Phuket?

A: High season, from November to February, offers the best weather.

Q: What are the primary sources of revenue from tourism in Phuket?

A: Hotels, food and beverages, and adventure activities contribute significantly.

Q: Are there eco-friendly travel options in Phuket?

A: Yes, eco-tourism is gaining traction with various sustainable travel options.

Q: What kinds of tourists frequent Phuket the most?

A: A broad range—solo travelers, families, honeymooners, and retirees, among others.

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Tong Kasemsarn

I've roamed Phuket's shores and streets, capturing its essence in words. From secret spots to beloved landmarks, join me in exploring this island paradise. 🌴🌊View Author posts

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