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Phuket to host travel congress

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket to host travel congress | Thaiger
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PHUKET: The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) will hold its 59th Annual Travel Congress (convention and exhibition) in Phuket, from September 17-19, according to the Mumbai-based Travel Biz Monitor.

The convention will be held at Laguna Phuket.

From January through May this year, Thailand has received 277,393 Indian visitors, many of whom came to Phuket, and theTourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is seeking to regain travellers’ confidence through different B2B and B2C strategies.

“Phuket is an up-market destination which is not tapped to its fullest potential at the moment. With the convention to be held in Phuket this year, it will definitely help the trade [association’s] members to explore the destination and benefit Thailand [by helping] to revive the tourism industry after the political turmoil,” said Pinki Arora, Marketing Manager of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New Delhi office.

Tourism network to benefit Phuket

TR Weekly
A medical tourism network to boost business in Thailand was introduced at a seminar in Bangkok on Monday.

The Medical Tourism Cluster (MTC) intends to recruit a wider range of tourism players who offer wellness and medical services in Thailand.

It will coordinate business contacts and sales leads between cluster members and overseas medical tourism providers. Apart from a new website currently under construction, the network is on Facebook.

Medical tourism grows by an estimated 10% to 15% a year. Revenue from the sector reached an estimated 360 billion baht last year, with medical treatments alone accounting for around 108 billion.

Thai Hotels Association president and the network founding vice president Prakit Chinamourphong told delegates at the seminar that the MTC could help boost medical tourism by connecting local companies to overseas markets and suppliers.

Within Thailand, Phuket has become a major participant in the medical tourism sector and is said by industry sources to rank second only to Bangkok in terms of the volume of foreign patients seeking treatments.

For related stories on medical tourism in Phuket, click here and here.

Grove Gardens Phuket joins La Tour

PR Web
As part of its continued expansion in Asia, US-based LaTour Hotels and Resorts, which offers personalized luxury hospitality management services for four- and five-star properties worldwide, will now manage Grove Gardens Phuket, an exclusive residential estate located on Cape Yamu on the East Coast of Phuket.

Grove Gardens Phuket, overlooking Phang Nga Bay and the channel entrance to the Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina and Royal Phuket Marina, is a four-star resort-style development consisting of 36 modern townhomes and condominium villas. Its grounds feature amenities that embrace the Phuket island lifestyle, including a spa with private massage and treatment rooms.

Andara Phuket tops list again

E Global Travel News
Following closely on its recognition in the coveted Conde Nast Traveler (USA) Hot List for 2010, Andara Resort & Villas Phuket has received a second “Hot List” award in regional luxury real estate magazine Property Report South East Asia.

Located on ‘Millionaires Mile’ in Phuket, the resort offers 37 lavish residence suites and 26 luxury pool villas. The resort’s service includes a dedicated villa attendant for each villa as well as a private Thai chef.

“This is the second time Andara has featured on the Hot List,” Property Report Editor-in-Chief Terry Blackburn says. “They were also on our inaugural list in 2009.

Our team of editors in Thailand and Singapore decides the list and it was a unanimous decision to include Andara again this year.”

THAI turns to takeaways

Belfast Telegraph
Thai Airways is so proud of its in-flight food that it plans to start selling takeaways.

They are introducing a line of seven ready-made curry sauces to be sold starting later this month at shops in Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

The company said its target market was the business traveller who had enjoyed the in-flight meal but had no time to cook Thai food at home.

The campaign is part of THAI’s drive to help reverse losses from the recent political strife in Bangkok. It is also aimed at helping the airline to standardize its Thai curries.

The Phuket office of THAI, on Ranong Rd in Phuket Town, has long had a ‘pastry wagon’ at its entrance, serving the same delicacies that it offers passengers on board.

THAI expansion underway

TR Weekly
Thai Airways International’s board of directors has approved the acquisition of 15 new aircraft to support fleet renewal and growth plans out to 2014.

The board also gave the nod to a new seat supplier to install economy class seats on five A330s.

Last February, the board gave the initial green light to an acquisition plan that recommended financial leases for seven aircraft (of about 300 seats each) to be used on regional routes, and for eight intercontinental aircraft of about 350 seats.

While passenger traffic was negative, Cargo Revenue/Ton/km in May increased 61% compared to the same period last year, with a load factor of 67.8% for 2010.

On raising capital, the board approved the company’s borrowing of 8 billion baht from Siam Commercial Bank for a period of seven years.

Thais to tap into Burma port

Bankok Post
The Thai government plans to develop a land transport route linking Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province with the port of Dawei in Burma as a gateway to markets to the west of the Kingdom.

Authorities say better land transport is needed because the Pak Bara deep-sea port in the southern Thai province of Satun cannot be developed on a scale to compete with other other deep-sea ports in the region.

Mr Putthipong said a link with Dawei would have great benefits for Thailand because China also wants to use the town as a possible site for a major trading port for western and eastern markets.

Situated in the southwest of Burma, the deep-sea port at Dawei is now under construction and should be completed in 2013. It will be capable of handling 300,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) containers a year.

— Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Phuket to rollout rapid Covid-19 testing campaign for visitors

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Flickr

A rapid Covid-19 antigen testing campaign for visitors to Phuket is being rolled out to quickly detect cases in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The island province is set to reopen to foreign tourists in July, that is if the virus is contained and if at least 70% of the population is vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The rapid testing campaign will start today and go until May 15. Visitors from Krabi, Ranong, Trang, and Phatthalung will be tested, according to deputy Phuket governor Piyapong Choowong. After May 15, those entering Phuket through official checkpoints will under Covid-19 tests funded by the National Health Security Office.

If daily new Covid-19 infections are more than 20 after the rapid testing campaign ends next week, then local officials will impose stricter disease control measures to help contain the virus.

In the recent wave of infections over the past month, there have been 493 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Phuket with 229 currently in treatment, according to the chief of the provincial public health office, Koosak Kookiattikul. To help contain Covid-19 in Phuket, the governor has also ordered local officials to find at-risk groups and carry out active case finding campaigns.

Despite the recent Covid-19 outbreak, Phuket is still scheduled to reopen under the so-called sandbox model, allowing foreign tourists who are vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel to the island without undergoing quarantine. A mass vaccination campaign is being rolled out on the island province in an effort to vaccinate 70% of the population, reaching herd immunity, by the end of June. Expats in Phuket with a valid work permit will be able to register for a vaccine starting next week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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