Phuket Airport announced recently that it will invest 6 billion baht (around US$163.2 million) to build an additional terminal for international flights. The expansion is expected to increase passenger handling capacity to 18 million travelers a year, up from its current capacity of 12.5 passengers a year.

Currently the airport handles about 22,000 flights per day on average. With the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s ongoing efforts to promote luxury tourism in destinations like Phuket, the numbers are expected to surge even further.

The design for the proposed expansion is expected to be approved in 2025, and construction is slated to begin in 2026. This is in addition to existing initiatives that have been in place to improve the airport  since 2016.

Related article: The Phuket International Airport

Problems Solved by Expansion

Photo: Thailand Business News

Phuket Airport currently has three terminals: one for international flights, one for domestic flights, and one for chartered flights by private jet. There are also plans to put up an additional terminal for seaplanes, which is expected to increase transport options for visitors to Phuket.

The airport, located in Mai Khao beach, continues to alleviate concerns about overcrowding at airport facilities and a shortage of parking spaces through its expansion plans. Past and present expansions at Phuket Airport have provided solutions for these problems, and the airport intends to improve upon current efforts.

With a new terminal scheduled to open in 2025 and the continuing expansion scheduled in the months afterward, more solutions may be on the way for common problems at the airport. Additional terminals at Phuket Airport mean that crowding and long lines are closer to becoming a thing of the past, and transferring between flights at international and domestic terminals are made less stressful.

Related article: Eight New Airlines Prepare to Commence Operations in Thailand This Year

What This Means for Visitors

Photo: The Phuket News

The expansion of Phuket Airport means that there are continuing efforts to improve the visitor experience upon arrival. Airports are the first points of contact at a destination, so it stands that the airport must also provide a gateway to a positive experience on the island.

An expanded international terminal could mean an increase in flights to Phuket, be it through the addition of new international airlines with flights to the island or additional flights from existing airlines. This bodes well for tourists from all over the world, including visa-exempted visitors from China and arrivals from India, the country with the most tourists coming to Thailand based on this year’s figures.

While public transport options are still available from Phuket Airport, many tourists still opt for private car services for pickup. This means that tourists still must step outside the airport and meet their drivers. With the increase in parking options, however, it may be much easier for drivers to find tourists.

Related article: Where To Stay In Phuket

What This Means for Local Tourism Service Providers

Photo: Thaiger

The increase in visitors anticipated by Phuket Airport and the local government could mean more revenue for service providers. Local businesses are already anticipating the growth of tourism in Phuket because it means more engagement with their services, which in turn would lead to an increase in revenue from sales.

More visitors would also mean a growing market for non-hotel accommodations, especially when resorts and hotels are expected to be fully-booked during key tourist seasons. Private villas in Phuket will become a viable option for large groups who need accommodations for celebrating private special events, like birthdays or corporate retreats.

Related article: Villa Venues to Book for Your Dream Wedding in Thailand

Final Thoughts

The growing popularity of Phuket as a luxury destination means a continuing effort to improve public facilities in anticipation of increased tourist arrivals. This is especially true for Phuket Airport, which continues to improve their services and facilitate the process of arriving in Phuket as part of their expansion efforts.

An expanded airport paves the way for better crowd control, which in turn should streamline procedures for processing tourist arrivals. The current plans for Phuket Airport should also lead to an increase in local businesses and concessionaires who provide services for arriving tourists and departing travelers.

Finally, the airport’s plans for expansion are meant to provide a positive experience for tourists arriving on the island, especially those who have booked their own luxury private villas in Phuket. With the anticipated changes in the horizon, there is hope that the newest additions to Phuket Airport will contribute toward a more pleasant experience for tourists upon arrival.

Related article: Destination Travel Quiz: How Well Do You Know Phuket?

Featured Image by TripSavvy