PHUKET: Thai national carrier THAI has denied claims that it has axed international flights to Phuket, although a spokesman has confirmed that two flights that previously stopped in Phuket now go to Bangkok instead.
THAI’s District Sales Manager for Upper-Southern Thailand, Kalayapha Panich, told the Gazette, “Around 20 daily charter flights have been canceled, but THAI hasn’t canceled any [scheduled] flights.
“THAI flights to Phuket from Bangkok and other places remain the same. The only flights that have been affected are some from Hong Kong and Tokyo to Bangkok. They used to transit Phuket, but now they go direct to Bangkok.”
The THAI denial came as Singaporean budget carrier Tiger Airways announced that it was slashing its Singapore-Phuket fares to attract Singaporeans to Phuket, a reduction being promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
“Traveling to Phuket with Tiger Airways’ special fares will be a fantastic way for Singaporeans to help Phuket,” said Eumporn Jiragalwisul, Director of the TAT for Singapore.
“If tourists do not return to the island, the shops will close down and people will lose their jobs. It poses a longer-term problem to the economic recovery of Phuket.
“The Thai people warmly invite all travelers to come to our beautiful island of Phuket to help rebuild our livelihood.”
K. Eumporn added that the TAT was working with the Phuket Tourist Association to offer special room rates to help bring travelers back.
Suwalai Pinpradab, Phuket TAT Director, told the Gazette she had been hosting visits from many journalists and tour agencies, as the TAT tried to show them the current state of Phuket.
She said the feedback so far had been positive. “Many journalists told me they are amazed by what Phuket is like – they didn’t expect to see it like this.”
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