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Immigration chief urges strict safety checks in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Immigration chief urges strict safety checks in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Officials are tightening security checks at Phuket immigration in preparation for the high season, in accordance with orders issued by the Immigration Commissioner yesterday.

After meeting with officials to discuss safety initiatives, Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn visited the immigration offices in Phuket Town and at Phuket International Airport to review safety procedures and ensure readiness for the high season, particularly given the slash in visa fees announced late last month (story here).

“The cabinet’s decision to reduce the visa fee from 2,000 to 1,000 baht between December and February will increase the number of tourists visiting Thailand and Phuket. Therefore, we have to be ready to handle that influx,” said Gen Nathathorn.

“A high number of tourists is good for the economy, but also quite risky. Our main duty is to ensure their safety and security, so the top priority is to prevent dangerous people from entering the country. We will also keep a strict eye on blacklisted and criminal elements,” he added.

Gen Nathathorn added that in the future, he expected the government to approve a proposed biometric security system to be installed at immigration.

“As far as the speed of service is concerned, we will add more officers and equipment as a long-term solution. In the short term, officers should check fight status to see which periods are the busiest during the day. This will help them manage their time and schedules better, and we will have enough personnel present at all times, without overworking them,” said Gen Nathathorn.

He also said it was important to ensure transparency during the entire process.

“I want all officers to strictly follow legal processes. Be accurate, but work fast in order to provide convenience to visitors,” he added.

— Kongleaphy Keam



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Phuket

Electricity mains upgraded in Pa Klok, Phuket

The Thaiger

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Electricity mains upgraded in Pa Klok, Phuket | The Thaiger

Phuket’s Provincial Electricity Authority is warning residents that their electricity supply will be disrupted in parts of Pa Klok tomorrow (June 28) as they carry out work installing new high-voltage cables.

The Thalang Branch of the PEA say the affected areas will be from to Ban Bang Rong Mosque to the Weerasatri Anusorn School on Soi Thala and areas nearby including The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and Bang Rong Pier (where local ferries and some island tours depart).

Power will be out for most of the day from 9am – 4.30pm.

The PEA apologises for the inconvenience and asks affected resident to call them on 07 635 4379 for further information.

Electricity mains upgraded in Pa Klok, Phuket | News by The Thaiger

 

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Phuket

Phuket’s tourist evolution – Diversity is the best option Part 2

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s tourist evolution – Diversity is the best option Part 2 | The Thaiger

by Guest Writer

Our guest writer has been managing resorts around Phuket for two decades and has represented his brand at international expos along with promotions for Phuket over the years. His knowledge is first-hand and steeped in local experience. He has asked to remain anonymous.

Read Part 1 of the report HERE.

In Part 1 of the article we looked at the changes and evolution of Phuket’s tourist mix, the rise of the Russian market, then the Chinese and now the drop of both. So what can we do to continue to lure the Chinese travellers?

We need to learn about the Chinese market and guest’s expectations in order to be able to develop products, services and welcome them. You will see many hotels sending their sales teams regularly to China to the main line cities plus secondary cities to entice new business and to regain the confidence in our Phuket hotel products. In our case, when sales teams come back, they are expected to debrief the operation teams on Chinese guest expectations and the feedback from partners on how we can improve the service and products in place for our Chinese visitors. How many business do any research about their customers and what they actually want?

Here are some figures covering January to May in 2018 vs 2019 for the same period, about visitors to our resorts:

• Chinese guests, dropped 26.17%, year on year to date

• Russian guests, increased 22.99% year on year to date (this was a case of several tour operators consolidating their hotels to reduce inventory)

• South African guests, up 4.48% year on year to date.

• Australia and New Zealand combined, down 33.14% year on year to date (Phuket competes head to head with Bali and South American islands.  Price is the key to any packaging as guests tend to look at great value packages, and the money saved is then on hand to use once they arrive at the destination!).

The Thai Baht has had an effect on the ‘value for money’ traditionally associated with traveling to Thailand too. The Chinese Yuan end of June 2018 was holding at around 5.06 Baht per 1 Yuan, but today it is 4.46 Baht per 1 Yuan.

The Australian Dollar was nearing 24.75 Baht per 1 Dollar a year ago, but today is hovering at 21.30 Baht per 1 Dollar which has had a dramatic affect on the famous ‘deals’ which Australian travellers are so accustomed to and hotels rely on during the green season.

As the Indian market is now seen as a possible ‘mainstream’ market heading towards Thailand, hoteliers are being approached more and more to see if we are ready to welcome Indian guests. Traditionally heading to the more lively resorts, families are going to play an important part in future arrivals from the sub-continent too. 

Once again, expect to see a change in beach choice for families as the market opens up and recent improved air links with several major cities in India and Phuket shows that the future is promising for this market. Once again, a market we need to learn about and do our homework on guest expectations whilst holidaying here.

We have seen much ‘price dumping’ recently in the market place. By doing this, if a 5* property starts doing this, the situation ‘dominoes down’ the line to 4*, 3* and so on.  According to several partners both in China and Bangkok, this year has seen aggressive price dumping but as the overall demand is not there this is going to have a severe affect on future negotiations as it will be difficult to get prices up again in the future.

One way which many of us are coping with this is ‘value adding’ – by maintaining room rates but offering some inclusions or ‘give aways’ within the rate instead makes a product more attractive to customers. Rate averages after these inclusions (depending on how a hotel calculates them and allocates the charges) will reduce and this year we have already seen 2.67% lower average room rate ‘year to date’ compared to last year.

Packaging is also becoming a bigger norm with hotels offering set packages for several nights stay with some inclusions.  This we have tried in several markets and the response has been good. 7 night stays with a few additional meals, cocktails, prepacked laundry before going home, for example. Hoteliers’ costing teams are working harder than ever before to make sure that such packages produce returns whilst offering  guests excellent value for money!

As one of the most established Vice Presidents of Sales and Marketing mentioned a few months ago, traditional 2 year ahead contracts with tour operators is becoming less and less important as the market changes so rapidly these days. We need to work day by day or month by month to react to market demands more than ever before to ensure that we remain competitive, nimble and flexible.

As we enter the second half of 2019, sales team meetings are looking more and more at new emerging markets; at balancing the books by nationality with new channels of distribution both online and traditional holiday companies in more countries to ensure that resorts don’t rely on just a handful of nationalities as, after all, we really never know when some of our largest tourist-feeding nations decide to change their travelling habits.

As it becomes easier and cheaper to travel by air, and the number of countries, who are welcoming visitors and becoming openly competitive with Thailand, increases never forget that every visitor has a great choice of countries to visit.

We need to continually review our products and services to ensure that we are aimed at the correct markets, guest mix (families, couples, younger, older, etc) and today’s trends in travel.

Therefore we ALL need to ensure that we are top of our game and welcome guests with true Thai smiles and make sure that we provide a safe environment with excellent service plus offering superb value for money.

Finally we should never forget to show the true traditions of Thailand that have attracted visitors to the Land of Smiles for centuries.

Phuket’s tourist evolution – Diversity is the best option Part 2 | News by The Thaiger

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Phang Nga

Progress on Phang Nga’s new international airport

Bill Barnett

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Progress on Phang Nga’s new international airport | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett, c9hotelworks

The AoT (Airports of Thailand) planned international airport in Phang Nga, set to be part of a triangle of international airports serving the Phuket, Phang Nga, Khao Lak and Krabi tourist zones, is poised to move past another development milestone.

The mooted private airport has now been binned and the AoT-operated airport project is now forging ahead.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, the second gateway Greater Phuket airport project is being put forward to the government with a budgeted cost of 75 billion baht.

Once approved, final land appropriation is expected to take 12 months and construction another 48 months, so the earliest opening would be 2024/2025.

New of the project continues to drive land transactions, and push up costs, at an increasing pace in the nearby Phang Nga areas of Ko Pilai, Kok Kloy and Natai which are located close to the airport’s proposed site.

Progress on Phang Nga's new international airport | News by The Thaiger

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