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.

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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

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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