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Phuket to host travel congress

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket to host travel congress | The 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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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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