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NEWS Hound: Phuket to smell good next month

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: From April 22-26, The Pavilions in Phuket will hold ‘Passion For Perfume’, a unique three-day programme designed specifically for couples to indulge in the sensual pleasures of scent. Phuket will welcome world-renowned “perfumer” Stephen V. Dowthwaite, founder of Perfumers World. According to etravelblackboard.com, senses will be stirred at the resort as couples are introduced to a range of scents and discover their personal preferences.

By the end of the course, the resort says, each couple will create their own pheromone-sparking fragrance. The course is scheduled to be repeated June 17-21, August 19-23, and October 14-18. Prices for the five-day/four-night package start from 101,076 baht, accommodation and breakfast included.

Hainan wants out of Phuket’s shadow

crienglish.com
China’s council revealed plans to develop the southernmost province of Hainan into a top international tourism destination by 2020. Brainstorming is now underway regarding how to make it stand out from other well established tropical destinations, such as Phuket. Tropical warmth, palm trees and humid breezes from the South China Sea have made Hainan a popular resort for domestic and international tourists.

Neel Banerjee, research director for travel & leisure with TNS Market Research International China, says that Hainan is not necessarily going to be another Phuket. As the island will mainly target mid- and low-income tourists, the planners will be trying to keep visitor  expenses below those in Phuket. And “showcasing some of the cultural beauty of Hainan is probably another key part of differentiating Hainan,” he says.

Thailand in ‘Top 5’ for business outsourcing

Asia times
As the global economy shifts from crisis to recovery, the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry is sparking new demand and buoying employment and investment in the Philippines, where it is one of the country’s most important industries. With its English-speaking population and cultural affinity with the United States – the world’s biggest ‘off-shoring’ client – the Philippines accounts for between 7% and 15% of the global BPO market.

Still, the Philippines faces challenges from shifting industry trends. In AT Kearney’s O&O ranking for 2009, the Philippines ranked as the world’s seventh most attractive off-shoring site, below India, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Egypt, in that order.

Business worries mount in Thailand

The Bangkok Post
A study conducted by the central bank in January revealed that 54% of polled businessmen were concerned over the current political situation in Thailand. Business operators were also concerned about the difficulty of raising prices for their products and services, the fierce competition from foreign firms, and the high costs of production. Risk factors in the Thai economy were labour shortages in the industrial segments, the drought that could be as severe as the crisis in 2004, the revival of the tourism sector, and the ongoing political strife.

Extreme weather for Thailand

National News Bureau of Thailand
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) expects drought, thunderstorms, forest fires and widespread smoke in Thailand this summer. The DDPM predicts that the drought situation from now through May will be more severe than last year due to 5% lower year-on-year water levels in the nation’s reservoirs.

The North will experience climate variability with frequent thunder and hailstorms. The dry weather will also result in forest fires and smoke nationwide, especially in the southern part of Thailand, including Phuket. Cyclones are likely to attack the west coast of the country resulting in flashfloods at the end of April.

— Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

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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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Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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