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AirAsia has bold plans for Phuket but first, the phoney alerts must end

Phuket-Bali Route Among AirAsia's 'Peace' Plans

Thursday, June 10, 2010
AIRASIA is ready to offer promotions and special packages to Thailand and even flights between destination rivals Phuket and Bali . . . just as soon as Thailand lifts its state of emergency declaration for Bangkok and 23 provinces.

The budget airline, a growing force in international travel, has called for the Thai government and countries imposing travel alerts to Thailand to clarify the parts of Thailand that are safe for tourists, and that have remained safe during the political unrest.

The chief executive officer of AirAsia Thailand, Tassapon Bijleveld, told Phuketwan today that unless the issue of Thailand's safety for tourists was made clear quickly, European travellers especially would go instead to Malaysia, Cambodia or Vietnam instead of Thailand.

""Phuket has been clearly affected but it remains healthier than other destinations,'' he said. ''Most experienced travellers know that they can catch a direct flight to Phuket and be safe. But first-time travellers tend to believe what the state of emergency and the national travel alerts tell them.''

The head of the Minor Group, William Heinecke, has called on all ambassadors in Thailand to lift travel alerts immediately so the tourism industry can return to normal. Minor employs 25,000 staff.

Phuket's position as AirAsia's southern hub in Thailand remains unfulfilled as long as the travel alerts are in place. Some nations have confused travellers with inaccurate and non-specific travel warnings.

Mr Bijleveld said Phuket could have direct flight links to Bali and Macau operating before next high season - provided normality returns, or the government makes it clear that some parts of Thailand have remained safe and continue to be safe for tourists.

He said that AirAsia's existing Bangkok-Macau flights demonstrated that 80 percent of visitors went on to Phuket, so taking them there directly from October or November made sense.

The Australians who visited Phuket often enjoyed Bali as well, so it was time to link the rival destinations, he said. ''They can spend a few days in each and compare them both,'' he said.

''After all, these are the two most desirable destinations in the region. It makes sense to link them. Why have Sydney-Phuket, and Sydney-Bali, but not Phuket-Bali?''

AirAsia already has big plans to open up India-Phuket routes from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and New Delhi (formerly New Delhi) as soon as August.

Phuketwan advocates a single global body to unify travel alerts so they become reliable and specific, and so all travellers trust them one again.
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Comments

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Phuket Bali...great idea

Posted by sky on June 10, 2010 17:48

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Can't wait!!! Yeah Air Asia! There used to be a Thai Consul in Bali too.

Posted by VFaye on June 10, 2010 18:34

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The Indian routes won't survive without a consulate in Phuket for visas. The Indian embassy in Bangkok is about as much fun as a Muay Thai kick to the face.

Posted by Philip on June 10, 2010 19:11

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"and New Delhi (formerly New Delhi)"

What am I missing? What's changed??

Editor: Just a little joke. New Delhi is still New Delhi

Posted by Anonymous on June 10, 2010 23:39

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Definitely hope the new routes work and don't get cancelled...would be great to have those options in Phuket!

Posted by Anonymous on June 11, 2010 08:20

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Nice picture

Posted by kevin Dash on June 11, 2010 09:55

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Great choice. Doing the Visa Run to Bali!

Posted by Lena on June 11, 2010 14:17

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This flight has been running for the past 2 months :)

Posted by Jamie on June 12, 2010 17:53

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Great, i'm going next may 2011 to bali & then to phuket i'll wait and see what air asia are going to do

Posted by Ben on September 3, 2010 22:55

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any news to your write-up on new direct flights from phuket to bali

Posted by pi on September 15, 2010 07:08

Editor Comment:

Nothing more yet.


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