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Phuket Business: Dive center targets “no niche’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: THE international appeal of Phuket’s dive industry has seen many dive shops and dive centers on the island honing in on specific niche markets, usually centered around a specific country or nationality.

Backed with their well-equipped dive boat and brand new training facilities, Andaman Ocean Safaris’ business model takes niche marketing a step further, by targeting agents, rather than any one market of divers.

Managing Director David Minnaar spoke with the Phuket Gazette, revealing his company’s core features.

David established Andaman Ocean Safaris in August 2010, starting with the 12 million baht renovation of the Chok Somboon (complete luck), a three-deck, 68-person capacity dive boat.

The spacious, 23-meter vessel is one of very few in Asia, he says, to utilize top quality, Bauer “pure air” compressors.

“You can have 45 to 50 people on board and wouldn’t even notice it. You don’t feel cramped at all,” Mr Mannaar said.

After a successful first season, Andaman Ocean Safaris expanded this month by opening a full-service dive center in Chalong.

The new center allows the company to provide full dive services to divers and agents, starting from classroom and pool training, to “pure air” and ocean dives.

The center’s modern and stylish facilities feature classrooms, trip-booking offices, a pro shop, restaurant, bar and one of the only saltwater pools in Phuket.

“We are geared toward companies that don’t have their own dive boats, pool facilities, gear or even their own cylinders,” Mr Minnaar explains.

The company, which strategically aligns itself with Patong-based All4Diving, is the only dive center to offer free pickup service anywhere on the island, David notes.

Agents take the industry norm of 30% for their marketing expenses. Most days Andaman Ocean Safaris has only 5 to 10 % of their own clients on board.

Mr Minnaar added that services include pickups, equipment management, meals (freshly prepared daily on the boat’s “hotel quality” kitchen), dives and drop-offs.

David went on to emphasize that he and his family want to play an important role in the community and are thinking of the long term impacts of their business in Phuket.

The company is looking to finalize a deal with the British International School to provide extra curricular diving course work for the students.

“Come low season we also want to talk to the local Chalong schools and offer this opportunity to the children for free,” David said.

For a select few students that are serious about diving, Andaman Ocean Safaris is looking to get them PADI certified for free.

“In the future those might be the PADI Dive Masters and PADI Instructors of tomorrow – it would be nice for them to come through us,” he said.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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