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Phuket

Private jets to rise in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Private jets to rise in Phuket | The Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Thai business aircraft operator MJets has opened the country’s first dedicated fixed-base operation (FBO) at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport to exploit the growing demand for business aviation throughout the South-East Asian country.

According to flightglobal.com, the executive lounge includes showers, a business centre for passengers and pilots, and flight planning and pilot briefing facilities.

“The business jet market in Thailand is growing. In addition to the jets that we have, several local tycoons and air charter companies are interested in buying more jets or trading up to a bigger aircraft. A variety of aircraft are being purchased in Thailand,” says MJets spokesman Navdeepak Vaid.

MJets is also keen to set up an FBO on Phuket Island, one of Thailand’s premier holiday destinations. It was not immediately clear where that FBO would be located, but Phuket International Airport is the only facility in the province with a runway capable of handling jets. The only other runway currently on the island is the 500-metre grass strip at the privately owned Phuket Airpark in Pa Khlok.

Asia Pacific air travel now world’s busiest

Asia Travel Tips
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air travel in the Asia Pacific region, and Thailand therein, surpassed North America for the first time in 2009, numbering 647 million passengers compared to the 638 million who had traveled within North America.

By 2013, IATA predicts an additional 217 million travelers – both business and leisure – will fly within Asia Pacific.

Within Thailand, Phuket International Airport ranks as the third busiest air terminal in the nation, following Bangkok’s Suvarnphumi and Don Mueung airports, respectively.

A major, 5-billion baht expansion of Phuket airport was announced in 2008. The expansion would increase the facility’s capacity to 12.5 million passengers per year, up from roughly 6 million last year. For the Phuket Gazette’s latest story on that project, click here.

Phuket hotels booming

Hotel News Now
Hotels in the Asia/Pacific region, most notably in Phuket, Thailand, experienced increases in all three key performance metrics for February 2010, according to data compiled by STR Global.

In year-on-year measurements, the Asia/Pacific region’s occupancy rose 4.7 percent to 60.6 percent, with the average daily rate rising 16.2 percent and revenue per available room jumping 21.6 percent.

Highlights from key market performers for February 2010 include Phuket, which ended the month with the largest occupancy increase, rising 35.9 percent to 85.3 percent, followed by Bangkok (up 23.1 percent to 70.1 percent) and Bali (up 20.2 percent to 70.3 percent).

Thai economy in boom

Business Week
Thailand’s stock index, Asia’s best performer this month, will outperform other Southeast Asian markets as its valuations and easing political concerns draw more foreign investors, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The improving economic outlook will boost first-quarter earnings of Thai companies, and gains in the baht will lift the market’s valuation, the brokerage said.

Overseas investors bought 40.3 billion baht more Thai stocks than they sold in the past 20 days, stock exchange data showed, as the number of anti-government protesters subsides. The baht has risen 2.2 percent this month, Asia’s third- best performing currency. All this considered, the economy may expand as much as 4.5 percent this year from a contraction of 2.3 percent in 2009, the bank said.

Thailand tops for hotels

Asia Travel Tips
The Wotif Group, operators of Phuket.com with a major office in Phuket, has announced that it is focused on developing Thailand as a key growth market.

Robbie Cooke, Managing Director and Group CEO of Wotif says, “Thailand is consistently popular with tourists across the world, and the last 6 months has seen the trend continue through our Wotif.com and AsiaWebDirect.com accommodation sites.

“Despite political unrest, we historically have seen bookings for Thailand bounce back quickly through our websites…. We have seen only a few cancellations from travelers following the recent events, and expect that while tourism may dip in the short term, overall we will see a good year if the situation stabilizes.”

Security laws extended

BBC
Special security powers have been extended for another week in Thailand.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) allows the country’s security forces to set up checkpoints, impose curfews and limit movement under the overall command of the military if needed. It was originally enforced across eight provinces, Phuket not among them, to prevent violence, but the extension now covers Bangkok and two  neighboring provinces.

“We think it has been an effective tool. Without it, I think the situation over the last seven or eight days would have been different and therefore we still need this tool to achieve our objective,” Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva told reporters.

Phuket has been calm since the protests began two weeks ago, and there continue to be no known plans for any demonstrations in the island province.

— Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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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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