PHUKET: One of the biggest names in European tourism is joining forces with a German airline to launch a new Phuket charter service at the start of the high season.
Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, founded in 2002 and based at Brussels Airport, and low-cost carrier Condor Flugdienst plan to operate flights to Phuket between November and April next year.
“Europe will return to Phuket again this winter, thanks to Thomas Cook AG and tour operator Neckermann Reisen’s joint promotion of Phuket to the European market, to the media and to Thomas Cook’s trade partners,” Dr Peter Fankhauser, a member of the Thomas Cook AG Executive and CEO Germany, said.
“The company is offering good rates and fares in order to increase capacity, in addition to marketing via the international press in Germany and the rest of Europe,” he said. Thomas Cook AG is one of the biggest names among European tour operators.
“After the tsunami’s impact on the Andaman provinces, Thomas Cook AG’s business dropped 15% nationwide, but Phuket business suffered most,” Dr Fankhauser said.
“In an average year we used to have 45,000 passengers from Europe to Phuket. Now, after our marketing activities throughout Europe, we are hoping that the number of passengers flying to Phuket will reach about 25,000 during this six-month promotional period.”
Thomas Cook AG recognizes that Phuket is a beautiful place to visit, Dr Fankhauser said, and the company believes that tourists who had been to Phuket before will want to return.
“We want to show that Phuket is safe and ready to welcome tourists; that Phuket is back to normal,” he added.
Pattanapong Aikwanich, President of the Phuket Tourism Association, thanked Thomas Cook AG for promoting Phuket in Europe. “I believe that Thomas Cook’s support will increase the confidence of investors in the tourism industry,” he said.
Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura added that he and staff of the Tourism Authority of Thailand will visit Japan next month to promote Phuket further.
“We will make presentations to the Japanese about our evacuation drills and we will do practice drills again at Phuket International Airport on September 9.
“We can demonstrate that we are up to date in terms of equipment and staff training, which will go a long way to restoring Japanese tourists’ confidence in Phuket,” the Governor said.
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