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Phuket: More tourists, fewer baht

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket: More tourists, fewer baht | The Thaiger

PHUKET: With hotel occupancy rates on the island currently reported at around 90 percent, hoteliers and other tourism business operators find themselves for the first time in two years unable to complain about a lack of tourists.

This is obviously good news, but businesses on the island are finding that strong arrival figures haven’t translated into the kind of revenue enjoyed during past high seasons. Many report income down by 30 to 40 percent compared to the 2007-2008 season.

Although this is an improvement over the 2008-2009 high season, which was wiped out by the takeover of Bangkok’s two airports, business operators are complaining that the hoped-for bumper profits needed to get them though the next low season simply aren’t there.

There are several reasons for this spending drop, the most important of which is the state of the global economy. The downturn has left European tourists, traditionally Phuket’s bread-and-butter market, forced to cut back on expenditure while on vacation.

The demographics of inbound tourism to Phuket are changing as well. With the expansion in the number of direct scheduled and direct charter flights to the island from many new destinations in the region, Asian tourists now make up half of all foreign visitors.

In response to these trends, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) says it is trying to get tourists to part with more cash during their stays here.

Although it claims the new focus will be on expenditure and not arrival figures, the Tourism and Sports Ministry has nevertheless set a nationwide goal of attracting 16 million tourists in 2010, up two million from last year.

The TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, recently said the agency will take a market-by-market approach, targeting Europeans with ‘green tourism’ attractions, enticing Middle Easterners with health and wellness services, and luring back Japanese tourists by naming a ‘golf ambassador’, for example.

No TAT campaign would be complete without a slogan, and this time the agency is indeed playing to the country’s strengths with its new ‘Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value’ catchphrase.

Phuket should stand to benefit from this latest TAT campaign. After all, there is no shortage of places for people to spend money on the island: golf courses, spas, specialty clinics, shopping centers, eco-tourism destinations, and more bars and nightclubs per capita than any other province in the country.

Unfortunately, such value-for-money attractions continue to suffer at the hands of the island’s patchwork of transport syndicates, which make it prohibitively expensive for many tourists to reach them.

— Stephen Fein



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Business

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | The Thaiger

Hermès has opened of its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta, the newly opened lifestyle shopping destination in the heart of the island, opposite Central Festival.

As Hermès’ first venture outside the Thai capital, the new Hermès Phuket store makes a significant statement of expansion and confidence in the market. The new address in this world-renowned island will allow the growing population of local residents, along with domestic and international tourists, to discover the abundant variety of Hermès métiers and savoir-faire.

Designed by the Parisian architecture agency RDAI, the elegant 172 m² retail space is located by the shopping centre’s main entrance and benefits from a double exposure with an exterior and an interior façade.

A bamboo claustra follows the line of the mall’s exterior glass, filtering the daylight that bathes the indoor space, and further illustrates Hermès’ high regard for local craftsmanship. The interior façade is composed of a refined lacquered metal, featuring a large window display, complemented by four recesses with illuminated silk scarves.

Upon entering the store, visitors are welcomed by the House’s ex-libris and signature Grecques lights, designed for Hermès in 1925. The store is decorated with natural and local materials – bamboo floors and claustra, cognac toned Cherrywood walls, toffee coloured silk and fibre fabrics – tastefully blending various elements of Thai culture and modern architecture. The soft colour palette evokes the sand and the sun in their various shades, providing a delightfully serene and convivial atmosphere.

The overall volume is divided into two main areas by the feminine silk grid facing the entrance. The first one, with the iconic Faubourg pattern mosaic floor, allows guests to explore the silk, fashion jewellery, fragrance, art of living, and equestrian departments.

Opposite the leather goods display, an intimate space invites guests to uncover the watch and jewellery collections. Further along, one can discover the women and men’s universes. A sand coloured carpet on the floor outlines the area dedicated to the shoe collections, enriched by a delicate custom-made bamboo light module as the ceiling centrepiece.

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket | The Thaiger

Phuket police have arrested and are questioning the driver of a red sedan following Friday’s incident on Thepkasattri Road in Srisoonthorn where he appeared to wave a gun out of his driver’s window (video in the link below).

Manop Sangpal was tracked down by police but they’ve confirmed that Mr Manop’s ‘gun’ was just a BB gun, not a firearm.

The video of the man driving the red sedan and waving the ‘gun’ out of the driver’s window spread around social media on Friday afternoon after a driver following recorded the incident and posted it.

Read the story and see the video below…

Police hunting for driver who threatened others with a gun on Phuket road – VIDEO

On the video the red Ford sedan cuts in front of the car with the dashcam then veers to the left lane while the driver waves the gun out of his window near Wat Srisoonthorn.

Police say Mr Manop was arrested at lunchtime yesterday (Saturday) in a workers camp in Soi Sukapibal where he lives with his Burmese wife and family.

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Krabi

Tsunami advisory for Andaman Coast – all clear

The Thaiger

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Tsunami advisory for Andaman Coast – all clear | The Thaiger

An advisory was sent out last night about two earth tremors registering 5.0 and 5.2 magnitude centered on the Andaman Islands, 620 kilometres north west of Phuket.

The National Disaster Warning Centre sent out an advisory to Governors of six Andaman Coast provinces to be on alert for tsunami warnings and more earthquake activity.

There has been no tsunami activity registered along the Andaman coastlines.

Tsunami advisory for Andaman Coast - all clear | News by The Thaiger

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