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Air Asia aids Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Air Asia aids Phuket | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: AirAsia Group is today kicking off a promotional campaign called “It’s OK, Thailand”. The campaign aggressively markets Bangkok as well as other Thai destinations, most notably Phuket, with low fares to revive Thailand’s travel and tourism industry.

The campaign’s first promotion, tagged ‘To Thailand with Love’, is giving away 10,000 free seats to passengers worldwide.

At the launch of the campaign, the airline invited media from ASEAN countries and India to see for themselves that it is now okay to travel to Thailand.

The booking period for the ‘To Thailand with Love’ promotion is from May 28 to June 1, and customers can visit Thailand almost immediately – from June 7 to August 31. In addition to the 10,000 free seats, there are also significantly discounted fares available during this period.

Jetstar also aids Phuket

TODAY Online
The recently-launched Jetstar Holidays packages for families to Phuket and other regional destinations are available for booking for just two more days, i.e. through May 30.

The packages allow for travel from Sept 21 to Nov 10 this year and are inclusive of hotel accommodation on a triple- or quad-sharing basis (two adults and up to two children). Transfers are not included.

Thai tourism outlook gloomy

AFP
Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said on Monday that the Bangkok violence had turned away millions of potential tourists, cutting revenues by 113 billion baht (3.47 billion dollars).

“There will only be about 13 million tourist arrivals this year, a three million drop from our original target of 16 million,” the think-tank said in a statement, noting tourist arrivals from within Asia had particularly declined.

Bill Heinecke, chief executive of the Minor Group, which, in addition to properties in Phuket, owns a Four Seasons hotel in the protest zone, said: “Directly, we’ve seen room cancellations of 100 million baht (3.07 million dollars).”

Peter Intrayota, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association’s northern branch, said, “Our hotels and streets are empty. Tourists are just cancelling their bookings.”

However, the outlook for Phuket, though not specifically cited by the NESDB, looks considerably better than that for Thailand as a whole, with a 41% increase in arrivals at Phuket International Airport, compared to the same month last year.

Thaksin on the run

The Nation

One day after the Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant over terrorism charges, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra mounted a global PR blitz to claim his innocence and deny that he financed the red shirts’ burning of Bangkok.

Speaking to New York Times, Thaksin said he did not finance or organise the red-shirt movement, which ended on May 19 in one of the fiercest upheavals in modern Thai history.

“No, no, no,” he said. “I was in Paris – they sent my picture – shopping at Louis Vuitton with my daughter.”

He denied helping finance the red-shirt protest, saying the movement sustained itself through donations from both poor and wealthy supporters.

Thaksin also told the newspaper that he was only involved with the protest leaders from afar. “I am in contact with them and they ask for advice sometimes,” he said, adding, in a non sequitur, that the violent incidents had taken place while he was on his way to attend the Cannes Film Festival.

In his interview with the Globe and Mail, Thaksin refused to disclose his whereabouts. He said national reconciliation in Thailand was “still far away” now that the government had used a military crackdown to bring the two-month red-shirt rally to an end.

“The protesters, they were very angry. They were ready to die because they feel the injustice against them. They want to fight,” Thaksin was quoted as saying. “Those who survived are very angry. It’s not a good sign. I am very worried. I worry about the anger and I worry the government has cornered them instead of talking to them.”

Thaksin also accused Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government, which he described as a “junta”, of hunting down the red shirts. He added that he was ready to compromise.

“Those who survived are being hunted by the government. They are innocent people who are being hunted and detained. I’m more worried about that than myself,” he said. “What I’m concerned about is reconciliation in the country. The government uses the word reconciliation, then creates more conflict.”

Thaksin also gave a video-link interview in English to Australia’s ABC television channel, in which he spoke in broken sentences.

“I can assure this is very, surely politically motivated case, allegation. It is not really a it has no grounds. In my mind I always advocate peaceful protest and I always support my own people that we, Thailand, needs reconciliation. I’m always saying that and I always be.”

— Gazette Editors

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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