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Koh Samui tourism operators want cheaper flights to lure tourists

Caitlin Ashworth

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Koh Samui tourism operators want cheaper flights to lure tourists | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times
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Koh Samui needs more visitors, from anywhere. A number of hotels on the island, one of Thailand’s popular tourist destinations hit by the pandemic-induced travel bans, are certified for alternative local state quarantine, or ALSQ, and now tourism officials are looking to lure travellers in with cheaper flights.

Getting the prices lower could be difficult. President of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, Vorasit Pongkumpunt, says both the airport and pier are owned by the private sector (in the car of the Airport, Bangkok Airways). Their monopoly has kept the cost of air fares to Samui inordinately high, when compared to most other air travel costs around the country.

“We want the government to find any practical solutions to help travellers visiting Samui with cheaper transport costs… Unfortunately, all entry points to the island – both airport and pier – are owned by the private sector. Bargaining for price reduction is hard.”

Tourism operators talk about the idea of lowering flight costs at a meeting next month focused on tourism stimulus plans for the southern provinces Phuket and Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui. Vorasit says the island is ready to welcome international travellers on the new Special Tourist Visa.

A number of the island’s hotels, including 5-star resorts, on the island have been approved as ALSQ facilities and Koh Samui is now at healthcare capacity, Vorasit says.

4 luxury reports on the island, owned by Asset World Corp, a developer under the Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Group, are certified as ALSQ facilities. The hotels have trained staff and partnered with hospitals, according to the property developer’s chief hospitality group officer, Stephan Vanden Auweele. The hotels have also been inspected by authorities, but the Bangkok Post says the operators still want clarity about the Special Tourist Visa scheme.

While many tourist destinations have been preparing for potential visitors on the Special Tourist Visa scheme, plans have been sketchy, to say the least. A flight scheduled for earlier this month was delayed, with some saying it was postponed and scheduled to arrive after the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced a few days later that no one in Guangzhou, China had actually applied for the visa. A group of visitors are now scheduled to arrive in Bangkok tomorrow.

The ban on international tourists has been in place for the past 6 months. Stephan says lifting border restrictions is important and tourism operators need the foreign visitors to survive.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    lootarzoon

    October 19, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    So.. You want high end tourism or bagpackers ????

  2. Avatar

    Martyn

    October 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Why would anyone want to be imprisoned for 14 days and pay excessively for the ‘luxury’ …

  3. Avatar

    EdwardV

    October 19, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    What is the use of trying to get ALSQ tourists when thailand is getting rid of the program in January anyway? In the mean time ask Bangkok to send over one or two of their paid groups , I’m sure 150-300 tourists will help restart the island economy.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 20, 2020 at 12:01 am

    a Thai airline lowering prices, when they have a monopoly?
    No chance.

  5. Avatar

    Waverider

    October 20, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    Reduce flight costs from where.
    No one is leaving their home country for fear they can’t return.
    Further more people are looking after their savings,travel is last on the list.

  6. Avatar

    Mike

    October 23, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Hilarious! Bangkok airways who own the airport and had a monopoly for decades ain’t giving that up. They would rather see tourism sink into the gulf of Thailand

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Koh Samui. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Tourism

Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry

Maya Taylor

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Academics call on government to hurry up and help the tourism industry | The Thaiger

Leading Thai academics are calling on the government to get a move on and help the tourism industry before it’s too late. Addressing a gathering arranged by the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion, Kiriya Kulkolkran from Thammasat University’s Faculty of Economics, pointed to the 80% drop in international tourism as a result of the Covid-19 fallout. His estimate includes the first few months of the year when there was actually a functional tourism industry in Thailand.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Kiriya says just 4% of businesses in the tourism sector say they’ve made the same amount or more than they did before Covid-19. She adds that a survey shows employees in the industry are concerned about debt accumulation and “extremely worried about the future”.

Bovorn Subsing, from Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, has backed up the comments, saying tourism workers have seen their wages drop by 60%, while still facing the same, or higher, cost of living. The result is that most are now in debt.

Kiriya predicts the devastation could continue for over 3 years, affecting not just tourism operators but the entire supply chain, as well as new graduates and those seeking their first job. She says that until the sector recovers, the government needs to provide tailored help for businesses, singling out Phuket hotels, who are struggling to survive without foreign guests.

The islands of Phuket and Samui, plus the other ‘tourist’ islands around Thailand, are facing a particular problem as they’re mostly geared for the international tourist market. Domestic tourism, rebooted last July when the local airlines were permitted to fly again, has mostly shunned the popular tourist islands.

One worker at a Phuket hotel, 52 year old Anchisa Sirinanthasak, addressed the forum in support of a possible co-payment scheme for hotel workers. It’s understood most hotel operators are paying employees 62-75% of their normal salary, which works out at around 8,000-9,000 baht per person and is not enough to cover their costs.

Meanwhile, Manop Kaewphaka from Homenet Thailand, a non-profit that protects home-based workers, has called on the government to allow foreign tourists back into the Kingdom and to provide more support for informal workers, in the form of wage guarantees and co-payment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Visa

Foreigners report alleged visa scam in Koh Samui

Caitlin Ashworth

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Foreigners report alleged visa scam in Koh Samui | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77kaoded

A Thai woman in Koh Samui allegedly ripped off at least 8 foreigners by offering visa extension services and taking off with the money. A group of foreigners reported the scam to officers at the Bo Phut police station, saying they placed deposits ranging from 10,000 baht to even 100,000 baht, but the services were never fulfilled.

A man posted a video on Facebook warning people about the alleged scam and saying he believes the woman stole around 10 million baht. A Thai TV news report shows a J&R Accounting business card for “Joy” which advertises accounting and work permit services.

“Be careful with your visa… There are a lot of people that just want your money and they don’t give the service.”

Apparently, some of the foreigners paid a deposit 6 months ago. They say Joy kept reassuring them that their applications processing. Now that visa amnesty is up, the foreigners worry about potential problems with immigration, Thai media reports.

Police told Thai media that this isn’t the first time they’ve heard of Joy. They issued a summons for her in the past. If she does not respond to the second summons, the police may go to court and request a warrant for her arrest.

A little over a week ago, at the neighbouring island Koh Pha Ngan, a language school allegedly ripped off more than 100 foreigners, claiming they were able to issue them with a 1 year education visa.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Tourism

Phuket & Koh Samui face financial ruin in the short to medium term – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Phuket & Koh Samui face financial ruin in the short to medium term – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Phuket and Samui are both islands, fed mostly by arrivals at their international airports. Of course, both remain closed and the islands are trying to survive on a dribble of domestic tourists. And there’s no sign of hope any time soon for the future. Bill Barnett is ‘Mr Hotel & Hospitality’ for Thailand and the region. What does he see as the short and long term solutions? Your comments are also welcome, below. You can also watch our stark report about how empty Phuket actually is HERE.

Bill is the MD and leading consultant forc9hotelworks.com

 

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