Fly Chiang Mai-Phuket to get your toes in the water
Good vibrations during Phuket’s First International Boat Show
Thailand’s first international boat show on the water,
Phuket International Marine Expo 2003 (PIMEX) was held on December 7-10 at
The Boat Lagoon, Phuket Island. It attracted almost 2335 visitors to the 80
exhibition booths with over 120 companies represented from 10 countries.
Governor of Phuket Province, Udomsak Usawarangkura, opened the show saying
the marine location of Phuket to be on par with Singapore, Langkawi in
Malaysia and Port Blair in the Andamans/India.
The government’s recent decision, reducing both import
duty and excise tax on yachts and boats down to zero, should result in a
boom in marine tourism and will almost certainly lead to an upsurge in
took advantage of the daily direct flight by Thai Airways International
(THAI) from Chiang Mai to Phuket, bypassing the Bangkok bottleneck. Arriving
at Phuket’s International Airport, there is a local limousine service to
downtown Phuket Town for only 100 baht per person.
As there is no direct flight from Phuket back to Chiang
Mai, on the return leg I had to fly to Bangkok first to connect to my
destination in the North. This inconvenience should be solved quickly by
Phuket Air and Bangkok Airways even on a low cost basis.
I suggest that the development plan is worthwhile to
connect and promote the “twin” destinations of Phuket and Chiang Mai to
tap the huge expatriates’ and emerging seniors’ tourism market.
For further information, contact GMS Media Travel
Consultant Reinhard Hohler email: [email protected]
Mae Hong Son to revive
WWII airfields for tourists
The northern province of Mae Hong Son is considering
re-opening three World War II-era airfields to cope with growing numbers of
tourists, according to provincial governor Suphot Laowansiri. Under the
proposals, airports will be opened in Pai, Khun Yuam and Mae Sariang
districts at the beginning of next year. Suphot said that the airports would
service small groups of tourists using light aircraft.
The first airport to be opened will be Pai, due to the
district’s enormous tourism potential and the fact that communications
equipment at the airport is still in working order.
On December 6 a fleet of 30 four-seater aircraft, all
containing Thai tourists, used the Pai airport for the first time. Issaret
Phusara, head of the provincial tourism coordination center, said that the
airport was particularly challenging for flying enthusiasts due to its
mountainous location. (TNA)
THAI increases domestic flights for New Year’s holiday
Thai Airways International (THAI) will increase its
flight operations on domestic routes to major tourist destinations for air
travelers during the New Year holiday and switch to larger capacity planes
to serve more passengers.
The flagship carrier will operate additional flights from
December 26, 2003 to January 4, 2004 on domestic routes from Bangkok to
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai, and Trang. (TNA)
OX ready to go with shuttle service
Orient Thai Airlines (OX) became the first airline to
operate a low-cost flight in Thailand when it recently launched its
Bangkok-Chiang Mai shuttle service. The flight, priced at 999 baht (US$25)
one way, will operate three times daily until December 25 when it will be
increased to six times daily or more, depending on demand.
OX will use two Boeing 757-200s, each configured with 216
seats. Customers will be allocated a seat, given free soft drinks and there
will be no cancellation fee if passengers re-schedule their flight within
seven days. (TTG Asia)
Tourism to grow 12 percent for 2004
Tourism and Sports Minister Sontaya Khunpluem has
announced the government’s new target of a 12 percent rise in tourist
arrivals next year. Citing the newly-released figures, Sontaya said that
around 720,000 visitors came to Thailand in November 2003, compared to
680,000 in November last year. He also noted that all airlines were now
fully booked, edging up total visitor arrivals for the year as a whole to
over 10 million.
Tourist numbers in 2003 remained below the government’s
initial targets made at the beginning of the year, largely due to the Iraq
war, the SARS crisis and unrest in neighboring countries.
But Sontaya gave assurances that any visitors to Thailand
would be safe, in particular from the possibility of terrorist attack.
“The rise in tourist numbers gives a clear indication that visitors still
have faith in Thailand and want to travel to the Kingdom,” he said.
Asked which groups the government’s tourism marketing
plans would focus on next year, Sontaya said that the emphasis would be on
medium to high income groups with high purchasing power. He added that plans
for next year would be based on locality, with different plans for visitors
from different regions of the globe. (TNA)
Warning for Thai students taking Work and Travel projects in the USA
Scam operators ripping off Thai families
Students intending to undertake job training in the US,
should beware of being cheated by private agencies, warns the employment
Orachorn Rattanamanee, Head of Chiang Mai Employment
Service Office, explained that many private agencies are currently
advertising their services, in all types of mass media including
distributing leaflets in schools, colleges and universities, encouraging
students to apply for work and travel in America.
Private agencies claim they have a quota from the US
authorities to let foreign students train and work in places in America for
up to 4 months, and administration fees between 70,000-100,000 baht. Most
students would be sent to work in theme parks, restaurants, hotels and other
service places, and each trainee would receive between $5-7 per hour in
wages. During their time in the States, they would stay with American
“The Office here would like to warn parents and
students who are interested in this and wanting to apply for it, to study
the details very carefully,” she said.
In addition, a number of applicants were not allowed to
enter the US, because of improper documentation prepared by the private
agencies, but those agencies did not refund the fees to the applicants.
Parents and students who have been to the US previously
are concerned that there is insufficient information, for example some
students who lived with American families were forced to work hard without
any payments, taking advantages and turning them into virtual slaves. Female
students needed to be even more careful where they were going, the type of
work offered and the standard of the families who would be offering
Parents or students who are considering these placements,
or those with similar prior experiences, should ask for more information at
the Chiang Mai Employment Office, Central Administration Building, 1st floor
Chiang Mai City Hall, telephone 053-222-865-6 ext. 17-19 during working