Phuket to feature in relaunch of ‘playground’

Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA) plans to relaunch Ratchaprasong as Bangkok’s most favourite playground next month, when top executives of 30 multinational companies will be brought to Bangkok and Phuket on a fam trip.

Phuket gets into the act because TICA wants to ensure that high-level businessmen get to see first hand that there are excellent hotels and MICE venues here.

The executives will join a package starting on July 2, with hotels, spas, shops, department stores and restaurants pitching in to help restore Ratchaprasong’s image, which was badly tarnished by the red shirt riots and vandalism

TICA will also run further, similar trips for businessmen later this year, partnering with businesses in Phuket and other strategic provinces to present packages designed to remind upmarket travellers of what Thailand has to offer, and to “bring back smiles to society.”

Phuket could benefit from Bangkok LCC

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes believes Bangkok needs a dedicated Low Cost Carrier (LCC) air terminal at Don Mueang Airport to expand aviation and support tourism growth in the Thailand.

After talking about an LCC airport for four years, successive Thai governments have not shown any sign of going ahead, according to Mr Fernandes who claimed his suggestions were ignored due to politics.

Noting that the Thai market is “tiny” now, Fernandes claimed that “Thailand has huge potential but has fallen behind.” He pushed for increases in traffic to regional airports, including Phuket where AirAsia maintains a hub, but did not suggest that Phuket International Airport, currently under major expansion, should incorporate an LCC facility in its plans.

Mr Fernandes also advocates that the Airports of Thailand should reduce its Passenger Service Charge from 700 baht to 250 baht.

“700 baht is very high, one of the highest in the region. In Malaysia…the fee has dropped to 250 baht and traffic has shot up,” he said.

The CEO made his comments during the launch of AirAsia’s “It’s OK, Thailand” campaign late last week.

Virgin Blue may abandon Phuket

Australian airline company Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd may cut its Phuket routes, reduce the number of brands it flies from three to one, and focus more on business travel and its loyalty program under new Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti.

The carrier may decide to increase U.S. services through its partnership with Delta Airlines when it completes its route review this month, and may consolidate its Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue and V Australia brands under the name Virgin Australia Airlines.

The Phuket service, flown by V Australia, was launched only six months ago, on December 3, and currently operates three times a week between Phuket and Australia.

Golf record at Laguna Phuket

The Times of India
There was record low scoring and a 13-year-old boy ranked among the top players in an exciting opening day of the Mercedes-Benz Masters in Phuket on Tuesday.

Thailand’s Wisut Artjanawat, Ratsak Hansapiban and Pattaraphol Khanthacha, and Singaporean Lam Chih Bing, lead the way after confident rounds at the Laguna Phuket Golf Club with course record five-under-par 65s.

They lead by a shot from Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul, winner of last year’s Mercedes-Benz Tour Order of Merit list.

But stealing the limelight in the fourth event of the season on the Mercedes-Benz Tour was teenager Pinsawat Pariwat who lives on Phuket Island and shot a 67.

The Phuket Gazette and PGTV are sponsors of this four-day event, which ends on Saturday.

Andara Phuket golf package

Asia Travel Tips
The Andara Resort & Villas in Phuket has launched a Golf Getaway package that includes:

– One night in an 1 or 2 bedroom pool suite or 3 bedroom pool villa
– Daily breakfast in the renowned SILK restaurant or in-Villa room service
– A round of 18 holes per person at one of Phuket’s leading golf courses
– A complimentary reflexology spa treatment, with additional treatments enjoying a 10% discount

The offer is valid until October 31, 2010.

Thai trade down with North Korea

Asia Times
North Korea’s trade with Brazil has recently increased almost at the same pace that it has decreased with Thailand, from where it previously sourced dual-use chemicals, raw materials and machinery.

Thailand no longer figures prominently in recent trade statistics, which is noteworthy given that their two-way trade reached a record US$331 million in 2004.

Those deals were done under the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, who at one point even proposed signing a full-blown free-trade agreement with North Korea. When Thaksin was ousted in a September 2006, Thai-North Korean relations began to deteriorate.

By 2008, bilateral trade between Thailand and North Korea fell to $76 million, and in 2009 dipped further to only $47.1 million.

Successive Thai governments since Thaksin’s overthrow are believed to have complied more favorably with international pressure to restrict dealings with North Korea.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News

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