Phuket proposed as air hub for the South

PHUKET TOWN: Kanok Abhiradee, President of Thai Airways International (THAI), yesterday announced that the airline will propose that Phuket become the regional aviation hub for Southern Thailand. The announcement, which follows the central government’s plan to have three regional aviation hubs in Thailand – the other two being at Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani – was made at a seminar at the Royal Phuket City Hotel. The seminar attracted 141 people from throughout Southern Thailand, including government officers and representatives of tourism businesses, international schools, hotels and airlines operating in the region. The aim was to gather input about developing Phuket into an aviation hub. K. Kanok said, “We chose Phuket to be the southern hub because of its tourism industry and its economy.” However, K. Kanok explained that the plan must first be approved by the Transport Minister and that the Airport Authority of Thailand and Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) must also be involved. On another note, K. Kanok advocated that Phuket develop more strategies to attract long-stay tourists. He suggested that local universities should launch English-language courses to attract long-stay students and that marketing of Phuket should be intensified in Japan where, he said, the number of retirees is expected to boom over the next few years.

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