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Heading up for Down Under . . . a Phuket road show takes to the air

Phuket Road Show Aims to Boost Aussie Visitors

Sunday, September 19, 2010
PHUKET tourism leaders and resort representatives are on their way to Australia tonight on a flying ''road show'' designed to boost the holiday island's profile and income.

Ever wondered what happens on a Phuket road show? We'll tell you at every opportunity this week. Phuketwan chief reporter Chutima Sidasathian is one of more than 30 people in the Phuket party, if that's the right word for a group committed to hard work.

Tonight's V Australia flight out of Phuket is bound for Brisbane, then the group will move on to Sydney. They'll meet buyers in both big cities.

Phuket road shows are legendary for generating business. With a great holiday destination product to sell and plenty of experience at mounting comebacks since the 2004 tsunami, the Phuket standard-bearers are expected to do extremely well.

Khun Chutima is travelling light, carrying the kind of miniaturised gear that enables journalists these days to file stories, photographs and video with maximum impact but a minimum of effort.

She's a little sensitive, though, about Australia's cows and the Thai Ovaltine International Incident that marred her first visit to Australia earlier this year.

Answering an SOS from a Thai pal who expressed a preference for Thai Ovaltine over the Aussie variety, Khun Chutima bought 500 baht worth of Ovaltine on Phuket - and was amazed to have the lot confiscated by Customs officials on arrival in Sydney.

Apparently because the packaged Thai Ovaltine contained an imported dairy product in the form of powdered milk, Aussie officials saw it as a threat to all Down Under cows.

Khun Chutima was reluctant to admit it at the time, but we can now reveal that she really had planned to spend her entire holiday inserting the Ovaltine sachets up the rumps of as many cows as she could catch in the central city areas and suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, even if it took her all two weeks. (Australian Customs officials are advised that this is an attempt at humor.)

In recent years Aussies have been coming to Phuket in greater numbers, despite intense competition from destinations within Australia and in other parts of Asia and the Pacific. Can this road show keep them coming? We'll find out this week.

As technology improves, reporting shows on the road is becoming easier. Just a couple of years ago, a photojournalist could have been expected to pack a hefty laptop and a Digital SLR with a few alternative lenses. Not any more.

In Khun Chutima's backpack are a Sony VGN-P117, a lightweight laptop less than one-third the size of the old-fashioned kind, a pocket Canon S90 capable of taking good photos by candlelight, and two telephone devices (two countries, two devices) a Nokia 97 and a T-mobile with Google. Both the ''telephones'' have mini keyboards.

You'll find out how she uses the future vision 2010 gear this week - and how the whole Phuket team goes in selling Phuket to Australians. We will also be introducing the members of the Phuket group and reporting as we go along how they perform.

Phuketwan's trip is being sponsored by the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Not much point really if V Australia are canceling their direct flights to Phuket as reported previously by Phuketwan. Referring to their website the last scheduled trip from OZ is on 20th. Feb 2011 returning to Brisbane the same evening. A little known fact is, as they don't have booking facilities on line, customers from Phuket to Brisbane can book through their customer service lounge by phone or email, pay by card and at no surcharge.
As a regular user of this route can Phuketwan obtain an update, I and I'm sure many other readers are interested to know what the future holds.
V Australia IMHO is far superior to the other direct flight alternative "O Star Airways" in all departments... service, comfort, food, convenience and price. It would be a shame to loose this service, maybe this road show can turn the situation around.
Please keep us informed.

Posted by innocent bystander on September 20, 2010 09:25

Editor Comment:

This is the first time Phuketwan has flown V Australia. We will certainly be interested to see how it compares. If the service does end, it's highly likely that some other brand will fill the gap. The Australian market will grow with the country's remarkable prosperity, which continues despite the global financial downturn.

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I am curious as why the Ovaltine was confiscated was it because it wasn't declared or is the dairy really a threat? I want to take same back with me next month and don't want to suffer the same fate.

Posted by Lincoln on September 20, 2010 12:24

Editor Comment:

You will have to become a smuggler to get it through. Everyone knows that Australia wants to avoid diseases that are present elsewhere. The threat from Thai Ovaltine, though, is mighty hard for anyone to understand.

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Perhaps this is the problem. The failure of some Asian countries to fully understand what can flow from infected dairy products is the reason there are so many problems with exotic diseases in SE Asia. This is a serious problem and should not be treated so carelessly.

Posted by Ian on September 20, 2010 13:57

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Re the confiscation of Ovaltine, as a tourist ambassador from another country I would have expected that Khun Chutima would be well versed with the Australia Quaranteen laws and how they have protected Australia's dairy industry. Her flippant remarks regarding what so far has proved to be a successful protection of our industry does her a disservice.

Posted by Lynn on September 20, 2010 14:29

Editor Comment:

While Australia's quaranteen rules successfully keep out troublemakers until they reach the age of 20, it's really difficult to understand what the problem is with Thai Ovaltine. Even Customs officials have trouble explaining it. The article was not written by Khun Chutima, so the comments are not made by her.

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Cadbury Dairy Milk hot chocolate is way better than Ovaltine and available in any Aussie supermarket ... so drinking chocolate and Phuketwan reporter aside, what other tourism representatives from Phuket are visiting Australia and where will the Phuket Roadshow be performing?

Posted by Kerrie on September 20, 2010 18:06

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Considering the insanity of some of the Thai Immigration and Customs laws (I use the last word without conviction), I think that your attempt at humor vis a vis cows bums and Ovaltine to be misplaced.

Posted by A. Skeptic on September 20, 2010 22:26

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The only thing that should be quaranteened is Ovalteen.

Posted by Shane on September 21, 2010 11:28


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