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Phuket to benefit from a better 2010?

April 5, 2010
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Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: According to Travel Weekly, Phuket and Bangkok can look forward to improved tourism in 2010. The influential US-based weekly newspaper for the travel industry says that Thailand was one of the most beleaguered tourist destinations in the world in 2009, suffering from the combined effects of the global financial crisis, political instability, a rising currency and swine flu.

However, the outlook for 2010 appears much brighter, thanks to many excellent promotional deals and to increased airline capacity that will be arriving shortly.

Noting that Bangkok and Phuket remain the most popular tourist destinations in the country, the respected B2B journal predicts that Chiang Rai and the beach resorts of Pattaya, Samui, Krabi, Hua Hin and Phi Phi will see an acceleration in arrivals.

Not mentioned in the journal’s outlook for Phuket is the alarming announcement by Thai Airways last week of massive fare increases into and out of Phuket International Airport. Citing ‘fuel price increases’, 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.

For more details on the new Phuket fares, click here.

Thai tourism takes a blow
China Post
The anti-governmental protests are affecting Thailand’s tourism. “The decline has reached a point where we risk losing visitors for the long term,” Apichart Sankary, an adviser to the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations said.

Hotels nationwide reported an average of 40 percent occupancy last month, down from the typical March average of 75 percent, said Prakij Chin-amornpong, chairman of the Thai Hotels Association, which represents 653 hotels nationwide.

Hotels in Bangkok were among the hardest hit, with tourists trying to avoid the capital, he said. Hotels on the beach resort island of Phuket and other places with international airports have fared better, he added.

Last week, Phuket Tourist Association president Somboon Jirayus said that tourism in the resort province this year to date has seen only 60-70 per cent of the check-ins it enjoyed during the same period last year.

Protests costing Thailand dearly
Sky News
Thousands of anti-government protesters yesterday continued to refuse to leave the commercial heart of Bangkok. They are defying threats of arrest and pledging to continue their protests until new elections are called.

Office buildings and more than half a dozen shopping malls, normally packed with weekend shoppers, were closed for security reasons for the second day.

Businesses say the economic losses could reach £10 million a day.

Police say the protesters could face fines and up to one year in prison as they had broken emergency decrees by disrupting traffic and commerce.

Thai police confront protesters
Earth Times
Thai police issued orders for the red-shirted crowd to disperse from the Ratchaprasong intersection, which is home to some of Bangkok’s ritziest shopping centres and hotels.

Copies of the order, threatening a crackdown if they failed to leave the area, were handed to protestors on the street and broadcast through speakers.

“We need to inform (the protestors) to leave because what they are doing is illegal,” PM Vejjaiva Abhisit said.

On Saturday night, police announced that leaders of the protests were in violation of the Internal Security Act and faced a year in jail and fines if they failed to disperse. The demonstrators defied a 9-pm deadline to disperse and many spent the night camped on the streets and sidewalks.

Source: http://phuketgazette.net/archives/articles/2010/article8535.html

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