International tourist arrivals to Thailand posted a growth of 19.04% during January to April this year, according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ data. Released late last week, the ministry’s research registered 8,841,730 trips to the country during the first 4 months, up from 7,427,772 visits during the same period last year.
In April alone, there were 2,013,012 trips, up 19.38% compared to 1,686,268 visits during the same month in 2012. The Songkran Festival in mid-April was identified as the key driver that drew tourists in a month when temperatures soar to almost unbearable levels in the Thai capital.
China delivered a substantial growth of 91.05%, supplying 410,173 visits from 214,689.
Considering markets by regions, East Asia, Europe, and the Americas reported gains.
East Asia continues to be the top supplier, (ASEAN included), with a growth of 29.39% from 931,286 to 1,204,996 visits. All identified source markets in the region posted growth except for Cambodia (-23.86%), Laos (-14.58%), and the Philippines (-0.11%).
Trips from Myanmar grew 42.58%, Taiwan +37.73%, followed by Indonesia (+31.31%), Vietnam (+23.13%), Malaysia (+20.86%), Brunei (+20.83%), Japan (+9.65%), South Korea (+9.36%), Hong Kong (+5.44%), and Singapore (+4.13%).
Europe posted a growth of 19.44%, although some markets posted declines:
Ireland (-2.69%), Spain (-5.24%), Switzerland (-8.26%), and the United Kingdom (-5.42%).
The top 5 key markets that grew were: Finland (+72.87%), Sweden (+70.85%), Russia (+47.98%), East Europe (+33.16%), and Denmark (+24.55%).
The Americas recorded a slight growth of 0.19% to 91,268 from 91,097 visits. The main markets, USA and Brazil, posted an increase of 4.11% and 1.49%, respectively.
However, arrivals from Oceania, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East reported a decline of 19.61%, 5.98%, 5.88% and 5.45%, correspondingly.
TTR reported the tourism ministry recorded international tourists to Thailand at the country’s gateway: Suvarnabhumi Airport reached 1,354,673 visits in April increasing 21.81% from 1,112,081 visits during the same month last year.
Thailand’s economy is getting a boost from young Chinese travelers looking to shop, eat and relax at spas.
More than 1.12 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in the first quarter of 2013, a 93 percent increase from the same period of 2012, according to Bloomberg. A total of 2.8 million Chinese visited Thailand in 2012, the wire service reported.
In Thailand things are cheaper, hotels are comfortable and it’s much warmer, Ying Ying, a Chinese tourist renting a 3-story, 3,000-square-foot suite for $1,200 a night in China, told Bloomberg.
Foregoing beaches, Chinese tourists are spending money in restaurants, shops and spas almost every day they are in the country.
Thailand’s Tourism and Leisure sub-index, which tracks the overall market, increased 105 percent in the last year, Bloomberg reports. Thailand’s hotel industry previously reported an increase in revenue per room for 2012.
After five years of political troubles, developers in Thailand hope the influx of Chinese tourist will translate to home sales.
Although Thailand is a mostly Buddhist country, a casino resort in the region similar to Singapore could be arriving soon, Gulu Lalvani, chairman of Royal Phuket Marina, told Bloomberg.
The increase in Chinese tourism will provide a boost to the economy in Thailand, where the gross domestic product shrunk 2.2 percent during the first quarter of 2013 from the previous quarter, according to Reuters, which had predicted just a 0.8 percent decline for the quarter.
BUDGET carrier Jetstar says a more luxurious offering is on the cards for long-haul passengers as the group moves a step closer to launching its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Qantas chief Alan Joyce and Jetstar Group chief Jayne Hrdlicka yesterday toured Boeing Aerostructures Australia’s manufacturing facility in Port Melbourne to see wing parts being developed.
The parts, called trailing edge components, are key to aerodynamics of the plane. They help increase lift capacity during take-off and landing, Qantas says.
Jetstar’s first 787 is due to arrive in Australia at the end of September with a further two aircraft joining the fleet by the end of the year.
“Melbourne is the home of Jetstar, and the 787 will be a very important part of our future, so there’s a great symmetry that parts of these aircraft are made locally,” Ms Hrdlicka said.
Qantas said the group was investing more than $100 million in training and equipment to support the Dreamliner launch.
Mr Joyce said between 60 and 100 Australian jobs would also be created.
The Dreamliners will be used on routes to destinations including Honolulu, Phuket and Tokyo.
Qantas says they will offer a quieter cabin, better air quality and larger windows.
Jetstar, which is locked in fierce battle for the domestic market with rival Virgin Australia, said the Dreamliners would give it an edge on its rivals in the international airspace.
“We are very much looking forward to the advantage this will give us,” Ms Hrdlicka said.
“The impact it will have on customers is very significant.”
The line-up of boats for the 2013 Samui Regatta, which is set to take place May 25th to June 1st off Chaweng Beach on the tropical Island of Samui, is looking strong with a mix of top international racers and regional regatta veterans set to compete. Organised by Regattas Asia, a leading regatta and marine-based sporting event management company in Asia, Samui Regatta is celebrating its 12th year.
Familiar faces on the Asian regatta scene Frank Pong (HKG) and Geoff Hill (HKG) will be leading the charge with the two largest boats in the fleet – Jelik (75ft) and Antipodes (72ft), respectively. Battling it out with them in IRC Zero will be Sam Chan’s TP52 Freefire (HKG), a team from the Royal Malaysian Navy sailing their DK47 Uranus and the Aquila Reichel Pugh 45 Katsu (AUS) skippered by owner Ben Copley.
In the ever-growing 40-foot fleet, the top contenders are converging at Samui Regatta to battle it out for the glory in this the final event of the prestigious 2012/13 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship. Competing in IRC One, EFG Bank Mandrake (HKG), skippered by Nick Burns is back to defend their title on the well campaigned Mills 40. After loosing the title on the last day of last year’s regatta, Bill Bremner and crew on Foxy Lady VI (SIN/CAN) are back to make ammends and will be up against Walawala 2 (SIN), WindSikher (SIN), Rikki Tikki Tavi (SIN), Elektra (HKG), Siren (HKG), El Coyote (AUS) and Dynamite (AUS).
“It’s great to see such a competitive fleet of boats lining up for the Samui Regatta. Indeed, across all the classes there are some very evenly matched boats and crews and I’m sure all will enjoy the five days of racing we have planned for them,” said Simon James, Race Director.
Having lost out on the IRC Two title by a single point last year, Lennart Fahlgren is back with Amanda (SWE) and will be racing against Souay 1 (CAN), Moon Shadow (THA), local favourite Royal Thai Navy 1, and Rolex Sydney Hobart veteran Matt Allen on his Adams 10 Ichiban (AUS). With victories at the Phuket King’s Cup and Top of the Gulf regattas in the the last 12 months, Ichiban looks the one to beat.
A battle of the SunOdyssey’s is set for the Charter class with the SunOdyssey 43 DS Paprika II (THA) up against two SunOdyssey 409 2.10 – The Waugh Ship (Ti-Punch) (AUS), skippered by Barry Waugh and Andaman Sea Pilot (THA), skippered by local regatta veteran Andy Dowden.
With last years winner of the Multihull class Fantasia unable to defend their title this year, a new winner is set to be crowned from a line-up of some of the region’s best multihull sailors. Largest in the class is the Crowther 42 Sonic (THA), skippered by Kirati Assakul who will be up against the well-travelled Corsair 38 Miss Saigon (GBR), skippered by David Liddell, Radab Kanjanavanit and his all-Thai crew on Cedar Swan (THA), and locally-built Crazy Horse (THA), skippered by Kunta.
If the winds are blowing, one to watch out for in the Multihulls is Henry Kaye’s Seacart 26 Sweet Chariot (THA), which favours the strong winds Samui Regatta is famed for.
“Samui Regatta has become well known for its top quality racing and professional on-water race management, and again this year the ISAF International Race Officer Ross Chisholm will be calling the shots on-the-water,” commented James.
The Regatta is equally well known for its onshore social scene and the beachfront Regatta Tavern which becomes the focal point early evening as the sailors come ashore. The five days of racing is combined with six nights of parties, including the offsite Beach Republic Party – a mid-week highlight – and the closing Gala Dinner and presentations hosted by Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui under the stars – a fitting finale to the ‘Tropical Island Regatta’.
The 2013 Samui Regatta is organised by leading regatta services provider, Regattas Asia, with strong support from Samui businesses and staff.
For more information, visit www.samuiregatta.com.
This is a truly exciting and imaginative challenge for those who love photography. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is inviting photographers to enter their work into a competition; the objective is to produce an image that captures the enticing characteristics of this fascinating kingdom. In doing so, they will be raising awareness of Thai lifestyle and the importance of preserving it for years to come.
Photography enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice in finding themes for their photographs. Thailand has so much to offer in terms of scenery due to its magnificent coastlines, stunning countryside and fantastic architecture. Also, the bustling cities and traditional Thai markets will give many opportunities to experience and capture images of the real Thailand.
Bangkok alone will stimulate the imagination due to its diverse mix of culture and architecture. There are a multitude of exotic temples, which emphasize Thailand’s strong Buddhist history. One of the most spectacular is the Wat Pho temple, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha due to its enormous statue of a reclining Buddha, which measures 46 metres long and is decorated with gold leaf. The regal Grand Palace, the major architectural symbol of the Thai Royal Family, is also a dramatic and awe inspiring sight. Its vibrantly coloured roof and gleaming spires are regarded by some as the most highly recognized architectural landmark of the nation.
In contrast, the winding Chao Phraya River provides ample opportunity to see traditional Thai life from the water. In the past, residents of Bangkok usually settled by the river, and many traditional ways of life are still evident amongst those who continue to live there. It is also possible to find floating markets along some of the remaining canals connected to the river.
Those photographers seeking inspiration from nature could visit some of the rural provinces of Thailand. For instance, Krabi has a beautiful coastline with dramatic limestone cliffs towering over the crystal-clear, turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. The Thung Teao Forest Natural Park is another area of outstanding natural beauty. This unusual, lowland forest is a superb place to spot rare animals and plant species, together with absorbing the beautiful surroundings around the amazing crystal lagoon. There are also some stunning beaches in Krabi, such as those at Ao Nang, Railay and Ton Sai.
Krabi can also boast an excellent selection of accommodation for those searching this beautiful province for the perfect picture. For example, Krabi Riviera Co Ltd provides an outstanding range of villas that are ideal for couples, families or groups of friends. All villas offer 5 star comfort, including private swimming pools, a personal concierge service, and some first-rate complimentary services.
Entries for the competition must be submitted by 30 June, 2013. Therefore, those wishing to enter should not delay in visiting this enticing country and sampling the abundance of colourful, photographic opportunities it has to offer.
This contest aims to publicise images of the enticing characteristics of Thailand from different angles and also, to raise awareness about the Thai lifestyle and the importance of preserving it.
Colourful Thai Life
The photograph must be in a digital format. It can be a digital image file or a scanned image file from a film camera. Also, it must be in colour. A printed photograph will not be eligible.
The contest is open to anyone regardless of age and gender.
Submission period: 1 May – 30 June 2013
(Deadline for entries is 18.00 Thailand time on 30 June 2013.)
Award and Prizes:
First Prize winner will receive a cash prize of 100,000 THB and a trophy from TAT.
First Runner-up will receive a cash prize of 50,000 THB and a trophy from TAT.
Second Runner-up will receive a cash prize of 30,000 THB and a trophy from TAT.
10 Honorable mentions will each receive a cash prize of 5,000 THB and a certificate from TAT.
Conditions of entry:
- The image file must have a high-resolution of no less than 240 dpi and no smaller than 12 x 18 inches (2880 x 4320 pixels).
- Photographs can be taken in both digital and film formats. In the case of a film format, it must be transferred to a high-resolution digital image file. Photographs must be taken within 2 years before the contest deadline’s date (30 June 2013). Photographs must be in a landscape format. Portrait, square or panoramic format will not be accepted.
- Entrants must complete an entry form with the required information, including your real name (Thai-English), address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Entrants with an incomplete form will be disqualified.
- Entrants must submit original photographs taken by them. Submitting someone else’s photograph or submitting it under a different name is prohibited. Those failing to follow the rules will be banned from participating in any of TAT’s and RPST’s contest for 5 years.
- Entrants must provide detailed information regarding the location, province and the time the photograph was taken.
- The photograph must be in its original composition as when it was captured. Entrants are not allowed to add or remove any of the elements of the original composition. Only cropping, colour-brightness and balance adjustment, and dust removal are allowed. Entrants may submit as many photographs as they want but will be limited to only one prize.
- The contest is not open to the committee members of the RPST, contest organisers and photographers of TAT.
- Upon submission, TAT has the right to display the photographs at any events and may use the photographs for advertising, publication or anyway deemed promotional to the Tourism Authority of Thailand without any charges.
- The judges’ decisions are final. Entrants may not object.
How to submit:
The file must be saved on a Thumb Drive (CD or DVD submission is not accepted) and can be submitted in 3 ways:
- Entrants can submit the file themselves at the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, 2nd. Floor Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Pathumwan Intersection.
- Submit via postal mail: “Colourful Thai Life” Photo Contest’ PO Box 80, Samsen Road, Phayathai, Bangkok 10140, Thailand..
- Upload the file onto the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand’s website: www.rpst.or.th
For more information:
Please contact directly at Royal Photographic Society of Thailand ; 091-115-7585
CBRE has identified a change in Phuket’s real estate market, starting late 2012, which it says is likely to be the most significant change since the Asian crisis in 2007. The change is driven by a number of factors, which include the entry of Bangkok based developers, the move towards smaller units, and an increase in the number of Thai buyers. The consultancy said:
“After a period of slowdown following the global crisis in 2008, the Phuket market is now enjoying a new wave of activity. By 2011, the stage was set for a change when Bangkok based, Thai public listed developers such as Sansiri and Supalai entered the Phuket market in a significant manner. Their first projects focused on the mass entry level market and were met with instant success, selling out within days from launch to a predominantly local Thai buyer base.
“The success of these projects has led a number of developers to consider the viability in Phuket of Pattaya and Hua Hin style developments which attract both Thai and foreign buyers. This model is characterised by smaller unit sizes and significantly cheaper total unit prices. CBRE believe this is the beginning of a new and sustainable market for Phuket.
“At the end of 2012, Laguna Resorts & Hotels Plc. launched Laguna Shores in an almost beachfront location overlooking a lagoon within the Laguna Phuket integrated resort development. The project features small unit sizes from 42 sqm with a starting unit price of under THB4 million [US$134,630] at launch. Up to 47% of the units were sold in Q4 2012 to a largely foreign buyer base. This was followed in Q1 2013 by the launch of an absolute beachfront project, Baan Mai Khao by Sansiri Plc. which has attracted significant Thai demand for a Phuket project, due in part to the loyal following Sansiri has in the Thai market. The launch of Baan Mai Khao also marks the emergence of the Mai Khao area, already the location of several upscale hotels and an area with growth potential that can be compared to the development of Bang Tao in the early 1990s at the start of Laguna Phuket.
“Another new project which recently began pre-sales is Amari Residences Phuket, a hotel-serviced residence located in one of Phuket’s most prime locations overlooking Patong Bay. Backed by Italthai Plc, the development is fully managed and serviced by the existing Amari Phuket Resort, providing rental management and offering a 6% guaranteed yield for the first 3 years.
“The launch of these projects represents a significant change for the market as they are being built by credible Thai developers who are not dependent on immediate cash flow from sales to commence construction. These projects can therefore be delivered on a timely basis and give buyers greater confidence compared to projects built by first-time developers with limited funding. The presence of these developers has also resulted in a marked difference in the product being offered where developers bring their expertise from other markets to Phuket. This is shown in the level of professionalism, quality of show suites and marketing presentation which is setting a new benchmark for the market.”
Budget carrier Cebu Pacific will soon start flying from Manila to Phuket, Thailand. Direct flights from Manila to Phuket will start on August 16. The budget carrier is the first airline to have direct flights from the Philippines to island destination.
Cebu Pacific will operate a thrice weekly Manila-Phuket service every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The maiden flight will leave Manila at 8:00 p.m. and arrive in Phuket at 11:00 p.m. The return flight will depart Phuket at 12:00 a.m. the next day, and will arrive in Manila at 5:05 a.m.
Cebu Pacific is offering a discounted base fare of P999 for a one-way ticket to Phuket on its website, from today (May 17) to May 23. The travel period is from August 16 to October 31.
With the admin fee of P120, passengers will pay P1,119 for a one-way ticket. However, this does not include the P550 terminal fee, P2,680 fuel surcharge, P1,620 travel tax and P972 country-specific tax.
“Cebu Pacific is proud to make the island of Phuket accessible to even more travelers. Our PHP999 seat sale is 71% off our year-round fares. We encourage everyone to take advantage of CEB’s trademark lowest fares to this world-renowned tourist attraction,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.
Phuket is one of the most popular island destinations in Southeast Asia. It is famous for its many beaches, as well as Phang-nga Bay and Phi Phi island, which was featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach.”
Phuket is the Gokongwei-led airline’s second destination in Thailand, after Bangkok.