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Phuket to host travel congress

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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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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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