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Thai airways in U-turn over Phuket?



Thai airways in U-turn over Phuket? | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: Phuket may benefit as THAI Airways ponders several measures to stem an alarming surge in ticket cancellations (10-20% in the last fortnight) and a plunge in new bookings triggered by Thailand’s escalating political turmoil.

The Bangkok Post reports that the flag carrier is considering drastic steps such as offering international flights directly to Phuket and other Thai destinations outside Bangkok.

Also under consideration are fare discounts and allowing ticket holders bound for Thailand to switch to other foreign destinations within the airline’s network with minimal fees.

In what appeared to some in Phuket as a kamikaze act last month, the national carrier hiked the price of an ‘economy’ class ticket on the Bangkok-Phuket route by 46%, while the Chiangmai-Phuket run was dealt a whopping 64% rise.

THAI’s plight threatens to intensify as 47 countries have advised their citizens to reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, while 10 others are asking their nationals not to visit the country at all.

Phuket extends Banyan Tree-tments to Singapore
The award-winning Banyan Tree group, which started out as a single resort in Phuket in 1994, is set to open its first Banyan Tree Spa on its home ground, Singapore.

Founded by the entrepreneurial Singaporean husband and wife team Ho KwonPing and Claire Chiang, this is expected to be a fruitful homecoming for the Singapore-headquartered company.

Banyan Tree will design and operate the spa and health club on the 55th floor of the spectacular Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino.

All Banyan Tree spa therapists undergo a certified proprietary training program at the Banyan Tree Spa academies in Phuket, Bangkok and Lijiang, China to ensure a consistently high level of service and quality, the resort company says.

‘Love’ dinner loved in Phuket

‘Love is a Four Letter Word’, the latest production from Phuket’s Andaman Players theater group, premiered to a full house last week at Mom Tri’s Villa Royale.

With its theme that took the audience through the voyage of love, the production did not disappoint. The musical comedy revue had something for everyone, including ballads, Shakespearean sonnets, comedy skits, poetry, dance and live music.

Accompanying the performance was a 3-course meal from Mom Tri’s own Maître-Cuisinier de France Chef Jean-Noël Lumineau.

Founded in 2008 and sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and PGTV, the Andaman Players now boast a cast of 14 actors supported by a number of writers, musicians, technicians and a growing number of enthusiastic fans.

Phuket has edge over Samui

Bangkok Post
While images of riots in Bangkok have startled the world, the fallout for tourism in Phuket and Samui has not been as bad as expected, says Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks.

Mr Barnett says, “Every time something happens…Thailand eventually recreates itself…. It regenerates the value cycle because it drops rates.”

He goes on to explain that Phuket also has an advantage over Samui because it offers a wider variety of activities and can therefore attract repeat guests, unlike Samui where “they don’t have enough to do” to visit again.

“Although Samui has some terrific hotels opening there, the difference is that the island has the hardware but lacks adequate software,” he says.

Bangkok Crackdown imminent

Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, on the topic of the increasingly confrontational anti-government protests declared yesterday that:

“From now on, what the government will do may risk clashes and losses, but the government knows what it’s doing. What needs to be done must be done.”

PM Abhisit also quashed rumors of martial law being imposed, despite the fact that it would help troops to decisively end the rally – by allowing detention without a court order, for example.

Some army commanders are reluctant to use force because of the inevitable bloodshed. On some evenings, tens of thousands of protesters gather together, women and children among them.

World support for Thailand

Online Athens
Pressure for Thailand to accept international support regarding the ongoing political crisis is growing.

Amongst others, the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank appealed for foreign mediation.

“It is time for Thailand to consider help from international friends to avoid a slide into wider violence. Even the most advanced democracies have accepted this,” the ICG says.

Despite the Thai government insisting on dealing with the situation alone, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said last week that American diplomats were “intensively engaged in discussions” with Thai government officials and opposition forces, and EU diplomats said they have met with opposition figures as well.

— Gazette Editors


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