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An early, subtle effort to attract Aussie tourists from Brisbane to Phuket

V Runs from Brisbane Plus Visa Runs to Hong Kong

Sunday, November 22, 2009
THE INAUGURAL flight by V Australia, Virgin Blue's premium long-haul airline, was due to land on Phuket on Sunday afternoon from Brisbane.

As people from Queensland usually say: ''G'day, howyagoin'?'' More of them, it turns out, are going to Phuket from today.

This new route makes it easier for visitors from the northern part of Australia's heavily populated east coast to take a break anywhere around the Andaman, although most Aussies seem to like Patong.

It would be a mistake for Phuket to become over-reliant on tourists from one source, yet increasing numbers of Australians continue to weigh Phuket's attributes favorably against those of Bali and holidays at home.

The state of Queensland has a climate similar to Thailand's, so people from this part of Australia will not be coming just for the weather.

Low prices are available as part of the airline's 'Tuk Tuk Off to Phuket' campaign (Get it? Ho ho) through to May 31, except for the peak Christmas-New Year season.

Virgin Blue, coming and going several times each week, will closely monitor demand for the new flights to determine future schedules and frequency increases based on support for the new services.

It has been a good week for Phuket for inaugural flights, with AirAsia linking Phuket to Hong Kong on a daily basis for the first time last Sunday.

By sheer chance, Phuketwan happened to be on the first flight. For those who like to take a break from Phuket on their visa runs, Hong Kong has plenty to offer.

We were beginning to feel a little homesick when a tout approached us on foot with the opening lie, sorry, line: ''I'm not trying to sell you anything.'' He was merely doing a survey, on behalf of a time-share brand . . .a time-share brand based on Phuket.

The other moment when we felt right at home came in a camera store when the salesman tried to divert us into buying the more expensive, obsolete model that we didn't want.

Coming back, the flight was mostly packed with Chinese couples escaping the wintry chill. How to bring more of them to Phuket?

Always adventurous, Centara Hotels and Resorts are offering an unusual 'Baht Bonanza' program at each of its 21 properties in Thailand in which guests deposit money and the hotel adds between 50 and 100 percent of the deposit for the guests to use during their stay.

Participation in the Baht Bonanza program is, the media release says, ''free,'' with the money available for use in the hotel restaurants, spa, and other selected activities.

Guests are therefore able to ''double their spending power while staying at the hotel, with Centara delivering value not only on the room rates but also on the facilities used by guests.''

According to the media release, the 'Baht Bonanza' works on a sliding scale. If a guest deposits 10,000 baht on arrival, Centara adds free of charge the sum of 5000 baht, giving the guest a total of 15,000 baht to enjoy during his or her stay.

A 20,000 baht deposit will see 12,000 baht added by Centara, bringing the total to 32,000 baht. Other amounts deposited see an incremental increase in the amounts matched by Centara, up to a deposit of 100,000 baht being matched by a Centara contribution of 100,000 baht.

''In this way, the scheme is attractive both to independent travellers and to families or groups, as it has the flexibility to be used by all categories of guest,'' says Centara.

There are, of course, no refunds.

Centara has a sizeable presence on Phuket around the island's popular south-west beaches that will grow considerably with the opening of the large property now going up on Karon beach, the only resort fronting the sand at the northern end.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Yes it is good to see that there direct flights from Brisbane to Phuket with V Australia . However there is no way possible that I, or anyone I have talked to, have been able to book a return flight from Phuket to Brisbane. Investigation of their website simply doesn't allow it.

An email reply from them to this query was that, Quote.

" Unfortunately, as an Australian based carrier, we are commercially unable to sell seats for sale from Thailand. To do this requires us to become a national business in Thailand which has been deemed commercially unviable. Therefore, unfortunately flights to/from Phuket are only valid for sales from Australia."

edit: Senders name withheld available on request.

It would seem initially that they are prepared to send their planes home empty. It certainly doesn't help Thais wishing to visit Australia nor expats to return home for a "holiday".

Does it not seem strange that a company with their resources won't do business in Thailand. Is the writing on the wall for Jetstar or Qantas?

Posted by inocent bystander on November 23, 2009 10:58

Friday June 21, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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