Hong Kong shuns Bangkok, Phuket not affected

Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: Hong Kong travel agents yesterday announced the cancellation of all tours to Bangkok until at least April 21 because of the political violence in the Thai capital.

Earth Times reports that around 80 tour groups with more than 1,000 people will be affected by the suspension of the tours, which began at the weekend when Hong Kong issued a travel warning on visits to Bangkok.

A black alert – Hong Kong’s highest level of travel warning – was issued by the SAR government. Bangkok is just over two hours by plane from Hong Kong and attracts thousands of Hong Kong people every week for short package trips.

Hong Kong’s alert is focused on Bangkok only and does not cite Phuket. The island resort province, accessible by many direct flights from Hong Kong, including those of Dragonair and Air Asia, remains calm. Other than economically, Phuket has not been affected by the more three weeks of anti-government protests in Bangkok.

Pressure mounts on government

Reuters/Bangkok Post
Thailand’s army chief called yesterday for early elections, adding to pressure on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva whose party may face prosecution over funding activities, Reuters reports.

“The current issue now is about dissolution of parliament, so my understanding is we just need to dissolve the House,” Thai army chief Anupong Paochinda told a news conference.

Thailand’s Election Commission has also ruled that Abhisit’s Democrat Party could face prosecution over funding irregularities.

The Bangkok Post, citing unnamed sources, said Abhisit could dissolve parliament in six months, three months sooner than his most recent proposal. He has to call an election by end of next year in any case.

Thai economy feels impact of protests

Thai stocks fell the most in six months after the clash between soldiers and protesters on Saturday, prompting foreign investors to extend their biggest sale of the nation’s equities in two months.

The benchmark SET Index fell 3.6 percent to 761.66 as of 10:33am in Bangkok, the lowest since October 15. The cost to protect Thai government bonds rose to a three-week high, while the baht traded near a 22-month high.

“Some overseas investors will be so jittery that they may rush to reduce their investments,” said Vana Bulbon, chief executive officer of UOB Asset Management (Thailand) Co.

“No one expected that many deaths, and this situation further worsens the political crisis,” she said.

Phuket Marriott special room rates

Asia Travel Tips
All three of Courtyard by Marriott’s resorts in Phuket have launched a ‘Hot Summer, Hot Offer’ promotion which must be booked by April 30, 2010 for stays before May 31.

The resorts in Phuket’s Patong, Kamala and Surin beach areas are offering rates from 3,199 baht net per room per night. The rate includes all local taxes and service charges.

Included in the Phuket package is accommodation in a “Deluxe” room, a free daily buffet breakfast in Momo Café, a 500-baht credit for use at the resort’s food and beverage outlets, and a 20% discount on all Spa treatments for the duration of the stay.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News

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