Banyan Tree banks on Phuket

Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The political turmoil in Thailand is hurting Phuket icon the Banyan Tree Group as guests cancel room reservations in the strife-torn nation.

The hospitality group said it had lost about $1.2 million in cancellations by May 7, or about 5 per cent of forward-booking revenue. It expects performance to suffer in the next two quarters as well, the New Straits Times reports.

“Unless there is a resolution to the Thai political situation soon, there is no clear visibility on the group’s performance for the rest of the year,” said executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping.

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“We’re lucky that we have only one hotel in Bangkok and most of the others are in Phuket, so cancellations are not very much, but the pick-up in hotel bookings has been quite slow.”

Koh Phang-ngan eyes Phuket

Travel News Asia
Best Western International has signed a new resort in Thailand. The Phanganburi Resort & Spa will open on Koh Phangan, one of Phuket’s competitor destinations, in November this year.

The 105 room resort is located on popular Haad Rin Beach at the south of Koh Phangan, in the ‘heart-of-the-action’ when it comes to the island’s well known Full Moon Parties.

“Our newest resort is ideal for party-goers who want to enjoy a peaceful sanctuary after a wild night… Best Western International’s standards will also position the property well to entice guests from Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia and the US, which are the main markets for Phang-ngan,” said Rashane Sala-Ngarm, Best Western International’s Senior Manager for International Development – Asia.

Mekong wants independence

Thailand’s neighbours fear the prolonged political crisis will negatively impact their tourism industry and have expressed sentiments to challenge Bangkok as the tourism hub of the Mekong region, according to government officials attending the Mekong Tourism Forum.

Disturbances in Bangkok, and the subsequent travel warnings, have cut lucrative tour itineraries to MTR countries.

Neighbouring countries have recognised that they need to urgently adapt their networks and encourage more airline links with Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and even India to bypass the Bangkok gateway.

They have also embarked on airport improvements to attract international airlines and initiated policies to reduce the risk of relying on a single traditional hub.

Bali suffers set-backs

The Jakarta Globe
Customs officials have pulled the plug on biometric checks for visitors arriving at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali after less than a month.

Ngurah Rai Immigration Office administrative head Wilopo said the system had aggravated the already long lines at immigration counters. He says the new process took just 30 seconds longer, but with daily tourist arrivals of up to 5,000, the accrued delays had forced many to wait in line for hours.

Tuesday’s announcement comes a day after Japan Airlines said it would cancel its routes to Bali by October 1. Japanese account for the third-largest number of visitors to Bali, after Australians and Chinese.

The end of the twice-daily flights from Japan is expected to cost the airport management Rp 150 million ($16,500) a day.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News

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