– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.
Although Phuket was to have been the first Tune hotel to open among the 24 such $3-a-night lodgings planned for Thailand, the honor, it seems, will now go to Pattaya instead.
According to TTR Weekly, the Phuket plans have failed to materialise.
The Pattaya property is now scheduled to open its doors in February 2012, offering rates as low as US$3 a night for a bare-bones, no-frills room.
According to the latest plans for Thailand, two more Tune-branded hotels will follow in Bangkok, and another in Hat Yai, by 2013.
All 24 of the properties in Thailand, with the exception of Hat Yai, will be built from scratch, according to a source close to the developer, Red Planet Hotels Company Limited, a subsidiary of Evolution Capital PLC which is listed on the Thai stock exchange.
In Hat Yai, the company will restore an existing building.
Although the Thai properties will offer the lead-in price of $3 a night, guests will need to pay a surcharge to have a TV, a refrigerator, a telephone or other amenities usually included in a hotel rate.
The ‘shock’ pricing is said to be enabled by cost savings, with back-of-house operations farmed out so as to eliminate the basic Housekeeping, Guest Services, Laundry, F&B and Engineering departments.
A Tune hotel comes with just four full-time staff per property – two working the day shift and two at night.
Tune currently has nine hotels in Malaysia and Indonesia. It plans to have about 100 in key cities across Asia by 2015.
So-called ‘high-end’ holiday makers will become Phuket’s latest target – again – for the tourism industry, says the local tourism promotion body.
Bangornrat Shinaprayoon, director of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said yesterday that Phuket was seeing a rise in the numbers of this particular group of tourists.
At present, high-end tourists account for 10% to 20% of the total number of tourists visiting Phuket, she said, adding that “many” of them traveled here by private yacht.
This group of big spenders always chooses to stay at hotels that can provide them with serenity, privacy, high security, great food, and premium relaxation services such as spas, she opined.
The province’s natural beauty is another major reason why tourists with high spending power chose to spend their leisure time in Phuket, Ms Bangornrat suggested.
The dengue fever outbreak is still a worry as the number of infected patients continues to soar, according to reports from the government of Thailand.
Minister of Public Health Jurin Laksanawisit says the spread of the disease is considered critical.
This year, the number of infections in Thailand is 83% higher than last year and seems to be rising. The numbers during past few months were also higher than the same period of 2009 by 40%.
The cumulative infection toll since January stands at 48,514. Out of this number, 53 have died.
Last week alone, 3,135 more people were infected, with 10 dead.
The 10 provinces with the highest infection rate are: Chanthaburi, Tak, Songkhla, Narathiwat, Satun, Pattani, Krabi, Trat, Phatthalung, and Rayong.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has pledged to support tourism, but concedes the country has lost as many as 2 million tourists a year through failed policies and political discord in the past.
Recognising tourism as an important economic driver, he said the industry had to grow at a much faster pace. He believes one of the catalysts will be a government investment in fast rail services linking Bangkok with destinations in the north, the northeast, the eastern seaboard and the south.
Mr Abhisit was addressing members of the travel industry who attended the 9th anniversary celebrations of the Tourism Council on Tuesday in Bangkok.
Travel Daily News
According to ATOR Analytical Service, this season has seen Russia take 3rd place among Europen countries in tourist arrivals into Thailand, based on the statistics of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport of Thailand.
20 thousand Russians visited Thailand in July 2010, 54% more than during the same period last year. There was an 80% increase in Russian arrivals during the first 7 months of 2010, 325,000 thousand people vs 164,000 during the same period of 2009.
The Bangkok Post
Total domestic vehicle sales of all makes in the first seven months of the year were up 53.8% on the same period last year, to stand at 422,364 units, Wuttikorn Suriyachantananont, senior vice president at Toyota Motor (Thailand), yesterday.
In July, sales totaled 65,672 units, up 52.2% from the same month last year. It marked the 11 straight month of increases, reflecting a recovery in the Thai economy, Mr Wuttikorn said.
Of the total, 28,780 units were sedans, an increase of 64.1%; 36,892 were commercial cars, up 44%; and 31,115 were one-tonne pickup trucks, an increase of 39.8%, according to Mr Wuttikorn.
He said he expects car sales to reach 750,000 units this year.
— Gazette Editors
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