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Phuket's Scandi Season Soars 120,000 Higher

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
AN EXTRA 34 flights a week to Phuket and Krabi will bring a timely influx of tourists from Scandinavia this high season.

Scandinavian tourists will return to Thailand between December and March because Swedish and Norwegian currencies are growing stronger, says tour operator TUI Nordic.

Officials at Phuket airport were unable yesterday to confirm the additional flights.

But if they go ahead as expected, the 120,000 extra visitors will mean a return to 2007 figures, when the economy, like the tourists, was flying.

Latest figures for August at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where many passengers from Europe transit to Phuket and Krabi, show that travel from Europe is booming again.

While the total European number year on year rose by 12.47 percent, there were some dramatic increases. Netherlands (16,997) rose 36.26 percent, Germany (37,113) leapt 27.15 percent, Austria (5401) jumped 25.02 percent, and there were increases almost as healthy for Eastern Europe, Switzerland and Italy.

Offsetting these rises, restricting the overall Suvarnabhumi position to a 5.17 percent drop compared to 2008, was a downturn of 12.31 percent in travel from East Asia.

Travellers from Korea, China, Hong Kong, and especially Malaysia, decided to stay home or go elsewhere. The Japanese (96,091) stayed steady, slipping a mere 1.87 percent.

Americans (38,952) also came in similar numbers. But Australians (35,397) arriving in Bangkok slid by 11.70 percent.

Countries in the Middle East collectively turned away from Bangkok in August, with the total (34,828) plummeting by 35.20 percent. This was more than offset by a boost from South Asia (64,354) of 11.68 percent.

Looking ahead to Phuket's high season, Christian Clemens, CEO of TUI Nordic, says: ''Despite the global recession, we still see a great interest in Thailand this coming winter and we have by now sold more than 60 percent of tour packages.''

Sadly for the island's extension economy, the prices being paid are 10 percent down on last year. But at least the bums are back on the Phuket-bound seats.

Look up and offer thanks for those 34 extra flights a week from Scandinavia between December 15 and March 5.

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