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Phuket Tourism Update: TAT mounts global push

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The Thai Hotels Association (THA) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will kick off a global campaign in December to woo back tourists to Phuket and other destinations in the aftermath of the flood disaster.

The campaign is set to run from December 15 until January 15, 2012, with THA members across the country, mostly three and four star venues, expected to join.

Participating hotels will offer “buy one get one free” deals on normal room rates to encourage tourists during the designated period, which falls during the traditional high season for tourism.

TAT’s 26 offices worldwide will help promote the campaign. THA president Prakit Chinamourphong said that although the campaign would run globally, THA and TAT would focus on regional markets like Hong Kong, Singapore and China as tourists from those areas would offer a faster response than long-haul travelers.

THA hoped that the campaign would boost tourism by 20%-30%.

Mr Prakit said flooding had caused the hotel occupancy rate nationwide to drop in November, from a projected 68% to 62%. However this is still an improvement from 53% last November, he said.

Hotels in Bangkok this month reported a drop of 40% as international tourists were still worried about inundation.

“Average occupancy rate at hotels in Bangkok this month was 55-60%, lower than the expected 75-80%,” said Mr Prakit.

However occupancy rates in non-affected areas such Phuket have been strong, bolstered in part by people in affected regions fleeing the inundation. Rates in Phuket are running as high as 70% this month, compared to just 36% during same period last year.

Operators in Pattaya are experiencing 70% in November, with fully half the guests being Thais who escaped the flooding in Bangkok and Central region.

The occupancy rate at hotels in Chiang Mai was 56% in November, but rose to as high as 80-90% in December, when the Royal Flora Expo and a large conference were held.

Thailand’s worst-ever floods have already washed away more than 400,000 international tourists, according to estimates. The negative impact is expected to continue and could lead to as many as 300,000 visitors staying away this year, even though 97% of tourist destinations are not directly affected, according to the TAT.

Sansern Ngaorangsi, deputy governor for Asia and South-Pacific Markets at TAT, said his agency had revised down total arrival estimates from the projected 19.5 million to 18.3 million, mainly due to the flooding.

The authority planned to organize a “mega familiarization” trip in mid-December, bringing in 500 travel agents and media representatives from around the world. TAT would add more marketing activities in January and March to further boost the number of foreign visitors.

According to Mr Prakit, the association has handed its rehabilitation plans to Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa and urged the government to help with corporate tax measures, dept repayment extensions as well as provide financial assistance to affected operators.

The ministry asked the government for 3-5 billion baht to rebuild the entire tourism industry.

In other TAT news, the agency on Monday also rolled out a “Beautiful Thailand” recovery campaign to lure back tourists.

According to TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, the most effective strategy to restore tourist confidence and build lasting momentum for the Thai tourism sector is to focus on value-added services and Thai hospitality, not price cutting.

“We are now focused on restoring tourist arrivals for the duration of the high season. The TAT is confident that from the year-end holiday period until March 2012, the second half of the high season, the tourism sector will have recovered. In the past, the Thai tourism sector has come back quickly when faced with similar situations. This clearly shows a travelers’ preference for and loyalty to the Thailand brand,” said Mr Suraphon.

— The Nation

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

Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Up to 5,900 jobs to go as Hong Kong carrier Cathay Dragon shuts down

Maya Taylor

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Up to 5,900 jobs to go as Hong Kong carrier Cathay Dragon shuts down | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kwok Ho Eddie Wong / Flickr

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific is set to close its subsidiary, Cathay Dragon, with the loss of up to 5,900 jobs. The carrier, that used to be called Dragon Air before being absorbed by Cathay, has become yet another casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic that has decimated the aviation business.

The Bangkok Post reports that 5,300 jobs are expected to go in the airline’s Hong Kong base, with a further 600 axed overseas, accounting for 17% of Cathay’s total workforce. Cathay Dragon primarily operated short-haul routes within Asia, including direct flights from Hong Kong to Bangkok and Phuket.

Cathay Pacific bosses have hammered out a HK$2.2 billion restructuring plan that involves thousands of job cuts, pilots and cabin crew having to sign cheaper contracts, and total closure of its subsidiary carrier. The South China Morning Post describes the plan as, “life or death”, reporting cuts to a total of 8,500 jobs across the group. The parent airline is understood to be applying for approval to absorb Cathay Dragon’s routes into the Cathay Pacific network, as well as that of its low-cost carrier, HK Express.

Cathay Pacific CEO, Augustus Tang, says the restructuring plan is essential to Cathay’s future survival as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic show no sign of abating.

“The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation and the hard truth is we must fundamentally restructure the Group to survive. We have to do this to protect as many jobs as possible and meet our responsibilities to the Hong Kong aviation hub and our customers.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post| South China Morning Post

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Thailand’s media spend shrinks as brands shy away from ‘bad’ news

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s media spend shrinks as brands shy away from ‘bad’ news | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Business News

Young protesters, who use social media and messaging intuitively vs Thai officials and police who try and track those messages to keep up with the plans of the protest movement. Although Thai police have water cannons and brute force, the Thai youth at the core of the current protest movement also have a valuable weapon. And it’s being used more than ever at the moment. But this increased traffic is not transforming into increased media spending from Thailand’s main brands.

Social media analyts Wisesight say social media is being ‘weaponised’, not only to plan and communicate with fellow protesters, but also “spread the word” of the issues behind their campaign and share their stories with friends. Posts on social media have nearly doubled to 40 million messages a day over the past week. The daily average of posts in past months are around 20-22 million a day.

“Some 40 million messages were posted on social media in Thailand on Oct 15, mainly driven by political strife,” according to Kla Tangsuwan, CEO of Wisesight.

But the increased traffic on social media hasn’t meant that brands are increasing their spending to take advantage of the additional ‘reach’.

In fact, Wisesight say brands are pausing digital media spending after the political conflict ramped up this week. Usually digital media spend spikes in Q4 with the approaching festive season, a peak buying time for consumers. Media were hoping that sentiment would rebound as the world “pandemic” started the settle in October, but fresh political protests, and a surge in new global Covid-19 cases, have caused brands to “pause or wait and see”.

“Brands have begun to hold back on digital media spending in the fourth quarter as political messages flood online platforms, drawing attention away from commercial activity.”

According to the business director of Media Intelligence, Pawat Ruangdejworachai, businesses are pausing their media spend.

“They lack confidence and are hard to gain attraction from audiences that have more interest in political movements.”

The report also notes that Thailand’s social media landscape, and broader media landscape generally, are entering a new paradigm where usage is driven mainly by Generations Y and Z who use their media intuitively and consume it in real time, the vast majority on their smartphones.

Gen Y. Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994. They are currently between 24-39 years old.

Gen Z. Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between 1996 and 2015. They are currently between 5-24 years old.

According to Media Intelligence, media spending is expected to fall 20% in Thailand to 71.2 billion baht this year. Internet channels are forecast to be the only media which will see growth this year, up 0.5% to 19.7 billion baht.

SOURCE: wisesight.com

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