INDIA, India, India. Just to prove the sub-continent is definitely the target for Thai-brand resort expansion and tourism in 2010, Phuket's regional TAT director, Sethaphan Buddhani, is packing his bags for Mumbai.
There he will be opening the TAT's second office in India. The Mumbai branch will be responsible for Thailand's tourism marketing activities in Western and Southern India, as well as in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Khun Sethaphan, who was well-regarded and made plenty of friends on Phuket, promoted the island and the Andaman tirelessly through difficult times.
Indian arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport from January-September nudged up a little to total 405,334, with 530,000 expected for the entire year and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal all showing growth.
The TAT was the recipient of the 2009 Award for Excellence in the Indian Travel Industry as Best International Tourism Board in India when the Travel Agents Federation of India convened in Chiang Mai recently.
Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, director of the TAT New Delhi office said: ''The Mumbai opening represents a major milestone for Thai tourism in south Asia. It shows the region's and especially India's great importance as a source tourist market for Thailand and reflects Thailand's commitment to provide better and faster service to travel agents, airlines, tourist businesses, and all travelers.
''Simply put, it signifies a new and exciting chapter in tourism promotion of the kingdom in India and neighboring countries.''
Both TAT Mumbai and TAT New Delhi answer directly to TAT Head Office in Bangkok.
Thai-based hotel-resort businesses Anantara and Amari have both recently announced that India will be an important part of brand expansions.
When times are tough, the tough stay calm. For the Phuket region's TAT director, the only way is up. Good ideas and inspired teamwork will guide the way, he believes.
Tourists and Thais love the sight of a night sky alight with floating lanterns. But the danger to air traffic brings a ban and a jail warning from Phuket airport's chief.
Events that celebrate Phuket like this one don't happen often enough. Phuketwan takes readers inside the crowd to wave the flag for Thailand, and the island.
Phuket has long been waiting for a resort theme park to rival those of other destinations. The Splash Jungle Waterpark may be worth the price of admission, but we can't say for sure yet.
Protesters in a Phuket land dispute say they will demonstrate outside a Phuket City police station if action is not taken quickly against a worker who allegedly fired four warning shots.
Work permits and ID cards should be kept handy from November 1 as Phuket officials check for illegal workers. The crackdown applies to all non Thai workers, skilled and unskilled.