THAI Airways International will begin regular flights to Melbourne in April, the airline’s Australian general manager said yesterday.
Korakot Chatasingha said that the Boeing 777 service would complement the Bangkok-Sydney service, where more flights would be added in January. Forty flights a week now cover the route.
News of the boost for Phuket direct flights came as the latest Phuket road show rolled on, with 102 agents attending a gathering at Sydney’s Imax building.Some Phuket brands go one better than joining the road show by having their own representatives in Australia.
Phuket International Hospital and the Chava Resort joined the group. Phuket seems to be extremely popular, with some agents coming from Perth, three hours’ flight away, for the gathering.
Some Phuket hoteliers are so conscious of the island’s competitiveness that they start selling a resort before it is constructed. That’s the case with the Rawai Palm Beach Resort, which will have its soft opening in October next year.
Sumonrat Takuathuang, of the already-established sister Kata Palm Resort, said the new resort will be Thai-style and have 198 rooms.
”Amazing numbers of Aussies come to our resort,” she told Phuketwan ”We looked around and thought that Patong was quite crowded. Rawai and Nai Harn are quieter and being well looked-after these days, with vendors being removed from the beach.”
The 400-million baht four-star Rawai resort will highlight handmade bathrooms.
Piyawan Chirayus, director of sales for the Patong Merlin (448 rooms, four star) and the Merlin Beach (414 rooms, four and a half stars) said the Australian market rated number one.
”The Aussies were the first group to return after the 2004 tsunami and they love Phuket,” Khun Piyawan said. ”They are easy-going and understand Asia.”
Royal Phuket Yacht Club assistant director of sales, Anchayaporn Thongsom, said Australians and Europeans were key customers at the 110-room five star at Nai Harn, which has 250 staff. Ever with ownership changes, the resort retained an excellent customer base and many guests keep on returning.