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Qatar Airways to offer biweekly flights from Phuket to Doha

Caitlin Ashworth

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Qatar Airways to offer biweekly flights from Phuket to Doha | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Qatar Airways
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Things are starting to take off at the Phuket International Airport. Qatar Airways will resume bi-weekly flights from Phuket to Doha starting on December 4. The move is a major step forward after a halt of international travel to the island due to Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Last week, an empty Emirates Airlines flight landed in Phuket. Although it wasn’t carrying any passengers, it was the first international flight to land in Phuket since the lockdown.

Flights by Qatar Airways include QR978 which departs Doha at 2:45am and arrives in Phuket at 1:20pm, and QR841 which departs Phuket at 2:10am and arrives in Doha at 5:40am. In Bangkok, Qatar operates 14 weekly flights to Doha. If approved by the Thai government, Qatar will offer 7 flights to Phuket per week starting on December 10.

In a news release from Qatar Airways, vice president of sales for Southeast Asia, Jared Lee, says the airline is safe and abides by reliable Covid-19 prevention measures.

“Qatar Airways has proven itself to be a responsible and trusted airline during this crisis with excellent hygiene measures where onboard COVID-19 infection rate is at a negligible 0.012%. Thus, making Qatar Airways a very safe and reliable airline. As global entry restrictions ease, we look forward to reinstating more routes as we aim to operate to over 120 destinations by year-end to better connect Thai passengers to the rest of the world.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Well it is another way to leave, but if they are Thai they have to have quarantine when they return.
    Do they want that?
    Ferangs might just be tempted to leave altogether on these convenient flights.
    They could be home for Christmas.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 13, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      Farangs can leave any time, as they’ve always been able to – but many are “home”, and the last thing they want to do at the moment is leave.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        November 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm

        Some that have businesses in Phuket will be running out of money and patience waiting for the tourists to return.
        And don’t write rubbish. Ferangs have not been able to leave anytime.
        I was not able when my flight was cancelled due to the Thais stopping my flight arriving, and no commercial flights were allowed out!

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 13, 2020 at 7:59 pm

          Sorry, Toby, but you WERE able to leave and YOU LEFT, going across the land border to Cambodia when Thailand refused to extend your visa.

          The airport was closed, relatively briefly. That is NOT the same as not being able to leave – YOU LEFT!!

      • Avatar

        Mike

        November 13, 2020 at 5:32 pm

        Typical response from someone living in a bubble – of course, the visa amnesty was put in place for a reason.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 13, 2020 at 8:00 pm

          Sorry, Toby, but you WERE able to leave and YOU LEFT, going across the land border to Cambodia when Thailand refused to extend your visa.

          The airport was closed, relatively briefly. That is NOT the same as not being able to leave – YOU LEFT!!

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm

          I’ve no idea what this “bubble” is you keep referring to.

          The visa amnesty was put in place because a lot of people (some 100,000) were unable to go home or would have been at risk from Covid if they did – not because they weren’t allowed to leave.

          Sorry to burst your bubble.

        • Avatar

          preesy chepuce

          November 13, 2020 at 9:28 pm

          I guess, technically, if you had a superyacht (or a space rocket), you could leave anytime, because there’s no land border closed, and no flight to worry about. But the cost of fuel and replenishments to get you back to Blighty, might rack up a bit, unless you get creative.

      • Avatar

        Khun plastic

        November 13, 2020 at 6:50 pm

        Wrong,

        many well reported cases in the international press of tourists being evicted from hotels that were closing and living in caves as they were unable to leave the area, mainly in South thailand.

        All were very thankful to the local Thai people who provided them with food.

        A disgrace.

      • Avatar

        James

        November 14, 2020 at 12:54 am

        Issan John

        Yes, I agree.

        I was in Phuket from January 2020 to the end of August.

        It was nice to have a free automatic visa extension.

        My initial return date was the 31st of May but I decided to stay and then changed my return date with EvaAir to London for the end of June, then changed again out of choice to August, they even upgraded me from Premium Economy to BusinessCclass for free.

        Yes, people can leave but they pretend they can not for some strange reason.

  2. Avatar

    Jason

    November 13, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Qatar Airways is doing an incredible job throughout the world at the moment and no doubt winning life long clients who will only fly with them because of their reliability. I hope to fly with them as soon as it is possible. But like so many others it won’t be to Thailand….. The Seychelles looks like a far better option!

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      November 13, 2020 at 4:58 pm

      Jason, I had to sue Qatar for a one way ticket to the UK.
      I changed my return flight date and when I checked a day before, my flight was not there.
      No amount of copies of emails, or reference numbers did any good.
      I sued them with a lot of extra costs and they paid.

      • Avatar

        Khun plastic

        November 13, 2020 at 7:16 pm

        An unfortunate situation but at least you had somebody to threaten to sue and they paid up.
        Surprised it went that far.
        What do you think your chances of getting any satisfaction out of Thai would be?

    • Avatar

      preesy chepuce

      November 13, 2020 at 9:29 pm

      Qatar sell a lot of tickets – regardless of whether they can be used or not. I just got a refund the other day from a ticket I bought from them about 6 months ago. You know the reason Qatar are doing this is because they are embargoed by their neighbours, and need to court western sympathy.

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    November 13, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    I used to like that airline a little better than Emirates. Their recent incident with the forced examinations on the tarmac in Doha will keep me from using them in the future.

    • Avatar

      Khun plastic

      November 13, 2020 at 6:37 pm

      Think Qatari government and not QR direct had a lot to do with that incident.
      True QR are a government owned company however is not quite the same thing.
      Do not lose site of the fact that a newborn baby was simply abandoned on an aircraft.
      Was a very difficult situation and I think it could have been handled better.
      Qatari government have made well publisised apologies and I expect very large financial compensation packages will be offered to all concerned.

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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.

Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The discovery that 3 Thai nationals infected with Covid-19 returned from Myanmar and bypassed health checks and quarantine, has officials in Phuket on high alert. Over the weekend, it was discovered that a 29 year old Thai woman had illegally crossed from Myanmar and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 after admitting herself to a Chiang Mai hospital. 2 other women who worked with her have also tested positive for the virus.

Phuket’s deputy governor, Pichet Panapong, says news of the 3 infected Thai women who managed to enter Thailand without undergoing any health checks or mandatory quarantine, has officials on the southern island worried. He adds that local authorities are monitoring Burmese workers, calling on them to follow disease control measures if returning to Phuket from Myanmar. (It would appear he missed the bit about the 3 infected women being Thai, not Burmese)

In a report in the Bangkok Post, Pichet says officials are considering setting up a quarantine facility for any migrant workers already in Phuket illegally, adding that of the 59,900 registered migrant workers on the island, 80% are Burmese. The Thailand/Myanmar border is longer than 2,000 kilometres with hundreds of official and “natural” border crossings.

“People can also act as eyes and ears for the authorities. If they find something suspicious in their communities, they should alert immigration police or local police.”

Phuket has 21 alternative quarantine properties, offering over 2,500 rooms in total, but arrival numbers are low. It’s understood that only 11 people have applied to enter Phuket in the period December 4 – 12, and so far, only a single application has been received for January. There are currently 726 people in local quarantine, 20 in alternative local quarantine, and 4 people carrying out yacht quarantine. Since Phuket agreed to receive foreign-registered yachts, 6 vessels have entered its waters, with all passengers and crew carrying out quarantine on board, 6 kilometres from shore.

Pichet says that, at a meeting of the communicable disease control committee, the Thai Yachting Business Association submitted a proposal to manage cruise ships, and officials have also received a request to extend the opening hours of shopping malls over the New Year holiday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent

Bill Barnett

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Re-opening Thailand to tourism will be vaccine dependent | The Thaiger

Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com continues to follow the difficult journey of the Thai hospitality industry. Traditionally, now would be the start of the country’s highly profitable high season for the tourism industry. But not this year. Thai hotels find themselves in the middle of an existential crisis – either still closed, only partly open, or one of the few converted to limited ASQ traffic. The situation is dire, when you consider that between 15-20% of Thailand’s GDP is linked to tourism.

In a speech this week Thailand’s Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke clearly that only when a vaccine is approved, produced, and implemented, would the country open to substantial tourism. Given the current timelines and forecasts, this may not be likely until mid-2021 at the earliest, though subject to advancement if the process could be accelerated, which is unlikely.

For tourism and hotel stakeholders, the writing is on the wall that 2021, for the most part, will see a continued reliance on domestic travellers, and only in 2022 will there be a large-scale return in numbers of overseas visitors.

Given the winter spike in Asia, Europe, and North America of Covid-19, Thailand is not alone in relying on the vaccine to return tourism but the process will not be instant and the re-openings of borders will most certainly be staged.

HERE’s a list of 113 Alternative State Quarantine hotels.

The business reality for Phuket and across Thailand is to plan for the worst in the coming six months and only expect 2022 to see a notable uptick.

Currently, the hotel sector continues to advocate to the Thai government and Central Bank for debt and financing relief measures and assistance in a social security supplement to retain staff.

While it’s negative news, it at least allows for hotels to understand the challenges ahead, plan and adjust their operating models going forward. ‘Survive the downturn’ is the new mantra.

No vaccine, no entry. Read more HERE.

No vaccine, no flight. Read more HERE.

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