Will THAI Airways become a pariah in Phuket?

Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: In a stinging editorial in Travel Daily News yesterday, the Thailand chapter of the Pacific Area Travel Association (PATA) blasts THAI Airways for its authorship of a “self-defeating tourism recovery strategy for Thailand” which some stakeholders in Phuket see as designed more for the recovery of THAI Airways than the recovery of Thailand.

For background on the airline’s new marketing package, see yesterday’s Phuket NEWS Hound here.

Noting that hotels in Phuket and other major tourist destinations are being pressured by THAI to sign room contracts granting 50% discounts to help the airline sell tickets, and that the airline “reserves the right to select the hotels” and to give preference to those which “extend the offers in accordance with our requirements,” PATA writes that putting Thai hotels under “revenue management and cash flow stress does not help Thailand’s tourism industry.”

The editorial goes on to note that “brutal price cutting” may offer some short-term relief, but that “it creates artificial benchmarks that are used against Thailand’s hotels and tour operators in the medium and long term.” And it appeals to THAI Airways to “quickly reconsider their demands and work with the hospitality industry to come up with alternative value-added ideas.”

Phuket in recent months has been particularly vulnerable to the marketing and pricing strategies of the national airline. Two months ago, the 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.

Drive to nab Thaksin

Bangkok Post
Copies of the court arrest warrant for Thaksin Shinawatra on terrorism charges will be sent to police in 187 countries, as the authorities step up their efforts to extradite him back to Thailand, Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tharit Pengdit said yesterday.

Mr Tharit said the Royal Thai Police Office foreign affairs division would circulate the warrant.

The Office of the Attorney General will also contact its counterparts overseas.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry will coordinate their efforts.

Mr Tharit was speaking after a meeting of representatives of the three agencies to discuss ways of achieving Thaksin’s extradition.

Mr Tharit said the countries to be notified of the warrant include Montenegro, where Thaksin now has citizenship.

Bangkok bargain zones

Bangkok Post
More help is on the way for riot-hit retailers of Thailand to sell their products and pare down inventories after the success of the Silom walking street campaign last weekend, which generated 140 million baht in sales.

Both the government and operators are looking to tap consumers’ eagerness to help revive business by shopping.

A second walking street would be set up in front of Siam Paragon, from the Henri Dunant intersection to MBK, on Saturday and Sunday and again on June 12-13.

In a bid to revive the confidence of traders and foreign visitors in the Ratchaprasong shopping hub, the ministry also plans to organise a world-class fashion show in October or November, featuring international brands and renowned products and supermodels.

Temporary tents in Siam Square sois 1, 2 and 3, an arena in Thong Lor Soi 10, and a football field covering 3,000 square metres are being set up as markets where retailers hit by the fires and riots can sell non-food goods.

‘Stupid assumption’ in bomb fiasco

Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia on Sunday rejected claims that migrant workers from the Kingdom had been smuggling “bomb making materials” across the border into Thailand.

The Nation newspaper reported on Saturday that Thai army officials at the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border crossing had confiscated pressurised gas cans and spikes hidden inside fertiliser bags from a group of 207 Cambodian workers bound for factory jobs in the southern Thai province of Songkhla.

Chan Wongwaimethee, commander of Thai Army Ranger Company 1206, told The Nation that the workers could have been collaborating with Muslim insurgents in Thailand.

But the Phnom Penh Post reported on Monday that a Cambodian government investigation of the incident had subsequently revealed that the cart in which the materials were discovered did not belong to any of the 207 workers, who had been arrested and detained in Thailand’s Prachinburi province for several hours on Saturday before Cambodian consular officials secured their release.

In announcing the Cambodian investigation results in Phnom Penh, the fiasco was attributed by the Cambodian government to the Thai authorities having made a “stupid assumption because they cannot control their internal situation, so they attempted to put [the] blame on the Cambodian workers,” the English-language Post reported.

— Gazette Editors

Phuket News
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