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Cheaper flights to Phuket a possibility to help revive the tourism industry

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cheaper flights to Phuket a possibility to help revive the tourism industry | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways
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Some say cheaper flights to Phuket will entice people to visit the island and get the once booming tourist destination back on its feet. Along with talk of lowering the price of tickets, those at a stakeholder meeting at the Thai Airways International headquarters in Bangkok say more direct international flights to the island also need to be reinstated.

The lack of international travel due to the coronavirus crippled Phuket’s tourism-dependent economy. The resort island province has been working on stimulating domestic tourism to make up for lost revenue and keep the tourism industry afloat.

Already you can get discount seats from Bangkok to Phuket, and return, for around 500 – 600 baht, taxes included, with Thai VietJet, Thai Lion Air and Nok Air (during a quick browse of the airline sites this morning). The taxi fare for the trip to Patong, Kat and Karon could cost you 800 – 1000 baht.

Last month, around 200,000 domestic tourists visited Phuket, but that number isn’t close to what last year’s numbers were. In 2019, over 14 million foreign visitors to Phuket brought in 470 billion baht, making up 90% of the province’s tourism revenue.

While some tourism related businesses are able to adapt and now cater to a local customer base, some still need foreign tourists to survive. At the stakeholder meeting, Phuket governor Narong Woonciew suggested airlines add more flights, lowering ticket prices and drawing in more domestic visitors.

Thai Airways was going to resume flights from Bangkok to Phuket on Christmas, but pushed the date back to January 1 due to the recent Covid-19 infections.

Some people at the stakeholder meeting discussed reinstating direct flights from European countries. Even with a 14 day quarantine, international travel demand remains strong, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand deputy governor Sirikorn Chieksamut. Thai Airways acting vice president for sales, Jesada Chandrema, says the proposal is “interesting and possible.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Stuart

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    It’s already cheaper to fly to Phuket than it is to get a return taxi trip from the airport to anywhere south of Phuket town. If these clowns want to be taken seriously then sort out the “allowed” blatant scams and rip offs that any visitor faces visiting here.

    • Avatar

      Rosco

      Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      I totally agree.the price of taxis is rediculous.i live hearand for the last 15 yrs it hasnt been below 1000 bht.bangkok to s/phum airport is only about 400 bht with meter taxi.no meter taxis at phuket that are allowed into airport.its all controlled by u know who.sorry to say.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Anyone want to buy a ticket on an airline that owes 24 billion baht in ticket refunds? That defaulted on 32 million dollars of debt?
    That take the tourist to an island that charges the foreigners twice the price that a Thai to run a marathon?
    That taxi drivers and tuc tuc drivers still rip of customers and the officials and police ignore it?
    Starve you Phuckers.
    I want to hear you singing: Up in the morning, out on the job, work like the devil for my pay, but that lucky old sun, has nothing to do but roam around heaven all day. In Thai of course.

    • The Thaiger

      The Thaiger

      Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm

      Comment of the day, so far!

    • Avatar

      Alte Ledertasche

      Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      Perfect description of the reality. Nothing to add.

  3. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Cheap flights & cheaper vaccine.I’m starting to see a pattern .

  4. Avatar

    Jason

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    The ship has left and the government is entirely responsible.

  5. Avatar

    Nipral

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Irrelevant ! None will come. Thai tourism is dead. De profundis !!!!!!!

  6. Avatar

    Robert

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Thailand needs more than just tourists to revive their economy because realistically, it’ll take years for the numbers to return and every tourist based economy will be competing for the few tourists that are willing to travel internationally.
    International investors will also need incentives to help revive Thailand but the current laws are very discouraging. Toby Andrews may end up looking like an oracle if the Thai government doesn’t do more to compete for tourists and investors.

  7. Avatar

    Yogibaer

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Free food and free accomodation For all domestic Tourists . This will Work ?

  8. Avatar

    BS

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Yup – as long as international tourists- I mean only westerners are treated like ” enemys of the state” they will never return – and it is ALLWAYS others fault when something goes bad in LOS = land of scam – NEVER thais fault- let them swim in their own shit to the neck . its their own fault all of it. – other countries in the region are more welcoming to tourists..

  9. Avatar

    Tori123

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Thai said they didn’t want cheap flights, cheap Charlie’s ruining their landscape- money talks

  10. Avatar

    Graham Smith

    Monday, December 14, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Let them earn a few baths on domestic tourists, it will surely be good. But the truth is that they dream of white dirty foreigners who really shop. Take and start researching your own behavior towards tourists, stop with your cheap two price system, put down your cheap blows for accommodation, travel, hairdresser etc. It’s just damn fun to follow your struggle that you clearly can not do without dirty tourists. Go to bed and have a good dream about times when you had tourism.

  11. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 10:44 am

    The Chinese travel bubble will happen eventually. Only then you realize the Chinese use their own hotels, restaurants, buses, tour agencies etc etc. They allow a little to trickle down to the locals. With friends like that…who needs enemies.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Crime

2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

The Thaiger

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

The Thaiger

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident

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Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident | The Thaiger

A national park officer has been fired after being accused of spying on a woman in the public toilet on January 17 at Phuket’s Sirinath National Park. 28 year old Abdulrama Mahaderi, was accused by a woman named Sopita and her boyfriend Panupong Rungrueng of climbing a wall that separates the men’s and women’s sections of the toilet at Nai Yang beach in order to look at Sopita. Abdulrama allegedly also had his mobile phone in his hand.

Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam confirmed that an investigative committee had spoken to witnesses and determined that Abdulrama was guilty of “misbehaviour and improper actions.”

Pramote confirmed that Abdulrama’s employment contract was then terminated, effective last Wednesday, 3 days after the incident allegedly took place. On its Facebook page, the Sirinath National Park made a post about the incident.

“It has caused disgrace to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and affected the image of the overall department.”

Sura Lertthaisong of Sakhu Police confirmed that Abdulrama would be facing charges and that he was currently investigating whether a charge of “bullying in public” under Section 397 of the Criminal Code would be appropriate.

Abdulrama had previously posted on the official Sirinath National Park Facebook page that his understanding was that no charges would be pursued by Sopita and Panupong.

“The tourists told me that they did not want to press charges. They just told me that they did not want me to do anything like this again.”

But after Panupong posted a photo of Abdulrama, detailing his alleged indiscretion on social media, others came forward with similar accusations.

“One group of women said that they were also spied on by this man on the toilet wall 2 months ago, but they did not report it and did not press charges – and the truth faded away as if nothing ever happened.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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