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Phuket flights: can Tiger tame THAI?

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PHUKET: Phuket flights: can Tiger tame THAI?

Tiger Airways has launched a promotion with special fares for travel from Singapore to Phuket.

Asia Travel Tips reports that the deeply discounted tickets, on sale until 21 April, are priced from just S$50 one way, including taxes, with the same fare applying to Krabi as well.

The Gazette went on the Web this morning to do some shopping and found the least expensive Tiger ticket for Singapore/Phuket/Singapore, for arrival into Phuket on April 19 and return to Singapore on April 20, priced at S$195 (approx 4,570 baht), inclusive of all fees and taxes.

The lowest price available on THAI Airways for travel on the same dates was S$474 (approx 11,105 baht), inclusive of taxes but without accrual of frequent flyer (‘Royal Orchid Plus’) mileage. The route entails transit through Bangkok as the carrier’s direct flights between Phuket and Singapore were abandoned several years ago.

Noting that Phuket offers “abundant resort options,” Rosalynn Tay, Managing Director of Tiger Airways Singapore, said: “We are pleased to help travelers enjoy these options in the cheapest way possible.”

Tiger’s promotional fares are also available on flights from Singapore to Hat Yai and Bangkok, at S$60 and S$65, respectively.

Stimulus to help Phuket

National News Bureau of Thailand
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has extended tourism stimulus measures for one year to assist tourism-related entrepreneurs who were affected by the political demonstrations.

The stimulus measures include the exemption of some visa fees, travel insurance for foreign tourists of up to US$10,000, low interest rate loans for tourism businesses, and extension of loan payment periods.

However, Mr Chumpol said more incentives must be made with cooperation from airlines and tourism-related entrepreneurs to boost the number of tourists.

He admitted that tour bookings in Bangkok would be affected from the mass political rallies at the capital’s Ratchaprasong Intersection. However, those in other areas, especially in the southern islands of Phuket and Samui, would not be affected by the protests.

Phuket cricket sixes

Bangkok Post
Twenty-four teams, including eight sides new to the tournament, are competing in the seventh annual Phuket International Cricket Sixes on the recently re-laid ground at Karon Stadium.

The tournament won a major award from the International Cricket Council in 2005 for promoting the spirit of cricket.

On Thursday, day one of the four-day Phuket event, the Gauhati Town Whites from India won a closely fought match against Phuket addicts the Wild Men from Borneo, and former Australian team internationals Trevor Chappell and Karen Rolton were also in fine form.  

A T20 match under floodlights featuring the best players in the tournament was staged last night to raise funds for cricket development in Phuket.

Vigilantes among red shirts

Asia Times
When assassins dressed in black killed one top military commander and maimed two others in the early stages of the April 10 clashes between Thai security forces and red-shirted anti-government protesters, the precision hits were likely as political as they were tactical.  

Analysts and diplomats believe that the pre-emptive strikes effectively broke the military’s chain of command and contributed significantly to the subsequent random violence that resulted in at least 24 deaths – including five soldiers – and over 800 injuries, many from bullet and grenade shrapnel wounds.  

Significantly, the three targeted officers were all primed for promotion to top-ranking positions in this year’s military reshuffle and all were known loyalists to the deputy army commander.

Famous protester escapes

The Wall Street Journal
The Thai government’s pledge to crack down on anti-government protesters took a theatrical turn Friday after special forces surrounded a Bangkok hotel only to see Arisman Pongruangrong, their target – a famous pop idol turned activist – escape by scaling down the front of the building with a rope and fleeing into a horde of waiting supporters.

Compounding the government’s embarrassment, two senior police officers were taken hostage by red-shirted protesters who swarmed through police ranks during the operation. The officers were paraded before tens of thousands of people at the demonstrators’ main camp in the heart of Bangkok’s commercial district as they continued their raucous campaign for new elections.

It was unclear whether the police were released.

Dark cloud has silver lining

Bloomberg
Thai stocks are relatively cheap with potential to climb as the political crisis that prompted the biggest selloff in five months will probably be resolved peacefully, a top fund manager said.

This rather optimistic outlook is welcomed at a time when Thai equities are trading at 11.3 times estimated earnings, the lowest in Asia after Pakistan and South Korea.

“Typically, the Thais compromise,” said Hugh Young, Singapore-based managing director of Aberdeen Asset Management Asia, which oversees $25 billion in the region and has been running a dedicated Thai fund for more than two decades.

“The stocks look cheap; there’s upside there,” he said.

— Gazette Editors

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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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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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