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Aussies like it overseas

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Aussies like it overseas | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community. World Cup? Get instantaneous scores and news updates right here on the Gazette Online (fed directly from FIFA).

PHUKET: Australians, a top tourism market for Phuket, are taking one less holiday at home each year, and are being enticed into more overseas trips thanks to cheap flights and the strong Australian dollar.

The Australian reports that new figures released show the number of overnight domestic trips taken by Australians has fallen by 23 per cent on a per capita basis since 1999.

Tourism and Transport Forum executive director Brett Gale said these figures continue a longer term trend. Domestic overnight visitor numbers had fallen by 9.4 per cent from 72.9 million for the year ending March 1999 to 66 million in the year ending March 2010.

Over the same period, the Australian population grew by 3.2 million, or 17 per cent.

Australian arrivals into Phuket continue strong on the back of a relatively robust Australian dollar, despite the recent downtrend in that currency and the ever-rising Thai baht.

And Australians consistently place third in the number of daily visits to the Phuket Gazette Online, accounting yesterday for close to 8 percent of the site’s 51,342 unique readers.

Qatar Airways invests in Phuket

AMEinfo.com
Qatar Airways announced yesterday its plan to launch flights to Phuket.

The new Phuket route, which will be served daily, is part of a package of services to six new destinations for the airline in Europe and Asia. The other cities are Budapest, Bucharest, Brussels, Nice and Hanoi.

The Doha-based airline will phase in the route expansion over a four-month period starting in October this year.

Phuket is slated to be it’s first addition, with the launch scheduled for October 11. This will be its second destination in Thailand as the airline already has a well established service into Bangkok.

In making the announcement, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Bakar spoke of the carrier’s commitment to develop its route network far and wide from its hub.

“Qatar Airways’ track record to grow remains strong and solid,” he said. “The airline is well positioned globally. The [new destinations] represent markets under-served so these are excellent opportunities for us to tap into.”

Pattaya vs Phuket in bid for World Expo

Pattaya One News
Phuket, take notice: At this month’s meeting of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, held last week at the Green Park Resort in Naklua, the focus was on plans for Pattaya to put in a bid to host the World Expo 2020.

The World Expo is a large-scale, non-commercial Expo. The hosting of the event must be applied for by a country and approved by the international World Expo committee.

Expo aims to promote the exchange of ideas and development of the world economy, culture, science and technology, by allowing exhibitors to publicize and display their achievements.

Pattaya is up against stiff competition, with, in addition to Phuket, a total of 15 cities around the world who are also pitching to host the event.

For background on the Phuket bid, click here.

Phuket property still fragile

Bangkok Post / Property Report
Developers in Phuket should take action to assure buyers of their ability to complete projects, as the trend today has leaned toward completed and well-managed properties to minimise risks in the currently slow market.

Property services and consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle finds that confidence has receded among buyers, causing them to be more cautious about buying resorts, condominiums or villas on the island.

The Phuket market depends mainly on demand from international buyers, and that demand has dropped since the global financial crisis escalated in late 2008.

The company expects the Phuket holiday home market to rebound in the next 12 months provided politics become stable. Until then, completed projects, rather than works in progress, are well-positioned to attract buyers in the next high season, the company says.

Phuket’s Impiana stays strong

Buisiness Times (Malaysia)
The recent volatile political situation in Bangkok caused a price war among hotel operators on Phuket.

However, at least one hotel, Phuket’s Impiana Resort Patong, apparently did not need to join the discounting. Based on Patong Beach the resort says it is actually doing better than it did in the first half of last year during the global economic downturn.

Impiana’s location on the beach in Patong provides it with an advantage over many other hotels in Phuket as it helps to fill up rooms under almost any circumstances, its general manager, Noorazzudin Omar, says.

The hotel, one of probably no more than two with Malaysian investment in Phuket, achieved an average room rate of 4,300 baht and average occupancy of 77 per cent in 2009, Mr Omar adds.

— 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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