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Central Festival Phuket to get Bt.5bn upgrade

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Central Festival Phuket to get Bt.5bn upgrade | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Central Retail Corporation (CRC) has announced a .5 billion baht facelift of the Central Festival Phuket shopping mall that will include the opening of its fourth floor.

The renovation, the first since the complex opened in September 2004, will be completed by the beginning of next year. It is intended to cash in on the recovery of the Phuket tourism industry and high growth projections in the retail sector throughout Thailand.

About 150 million will be spent by 300 retail tenants to renovate their stores in the complex.

The country’s retail industry anticipates growth of between 7% and 8% this year, the highest in the past five years, said Thanapon Tangkananan.

Mr Thanapon is CRC vice president for business development and former president of the Thai Retailers Association.

Growth in the retail sector has been driven mainly by strong domestic consumption and exports, as well as good prices for agricultural products, he said.

Phuket alone attracted more than 7 million foreign tourists annually, which is half the total number of foreign visitors to Thailand, he said.

“Despite some negative factors, such as the political unrest that hit Bangkok earlier this year, the number of foreign tourists visiting Phuket has recovered very quickly,” Mr Thanapon said.

He estimated the growth at about 20% year-on-year.

Central Festival Phuket will be relaunched in February as “The South’s Best International Lifestyle and Shopping Destination”.

The repositioning is intended to attract higher numbers of foreign tourists, mainly from Russia, China including Hong Kong, South Korea, and Europe.

Lertvit Pumipitak, CRC executive vice president for business development, said the facelift would reinforce the parent corporation’s leadership position in the Phuket retail business.

“The renovation will increase total retail space of the shopping mall from 40,000 square meters to 53,000sqm,” he said.

Much of this expansion will come when the fourth floor is finally opened after going unused for over six years. The new fourth floor, to be promoted as a health and beauty zone and will be occupied by 20 shops with total retail space of more than 4,500sqm.

The number of tenant stores at Central Festival Phuket has increased by 15%, with 30-40 new outlets opening when the renovation is completed.

With the renovation the company expects to increase shopper traffic at Central Festival Phuket by 20% to 25%. The mall now attracts between 10,000 and 15,000 shoppers a day, of whom 40% are foreign tourists, Mr Lertvit said.

Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree, general manager of Central Festival Phuket, said sales by its retail tenants increased by between 12% and 15% year-on-year in the first 10 months.

The mall itself expects overall sales to grow by more than 20% during the last two months, driven by the holiday season and the arrival of the high season for tourism.

Foreign tourists spend twice as much per visit as local shoppers, she said.

— 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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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
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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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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