Aussies like it overseas

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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
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

Phuket News

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