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Regional pacesetter Air Asia promotes Phuket in Australia

Khao Lak Delight as Turkish Brand Takes Over

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
TRENDS

THE LAST of the big resorts along the Khao Lak coast to be rebuilt after the tsunami now has a new name.

The 300-room Sofitel Magic Lagoon Resort & Spa Khao Lak, originally a Novotel, reopened under the five-star Sofitel brand just in time for the big wave in 2004.

It was being reconstructed this year as a Kempinski.

Kempinski is a brand with an East European heart, and it would have been the expanding chain's first venture into Thailand.

Now the beachside resort, once noted for its tropical ambience and super-sized swimming pool, has yet another new name.

The Novotel Sofitel Kempinski is scheduled to reopen on November 1 as the Rixos Premium Khao Lak.

As with Kempinski, it is Rixos Premium's first venture into Thailand. We don't know a lot about the brand, other than it is Turkish.

So from Sofitel, to Kempinski, to Rixos Premium . . . we see it more clearly now. The splendid site, not far from Khao Lak, has been changing brands in a march across Europe towards Asia.

Phuketwan has been told that the staff who have already been hired by Kempinski will maintain their positions, and that the management of the resort is likely to come from Russia.

Perhaps it's the start of a strong Russian presence in Phang Nga. The Russians will be joining the Germans and the Scandanavians, who already love what the province has to offer.

Look for more when the Rixos Premium Khao Lak website is launched, we are told, next week.

Aviation's 'New World Order'

ALL EYES will be on the skies over the green season as Phuket's resorts and real estate companies check the pulse of business.

The shakeout now consuming airlines all over the globe is of such a magnitude that, inevitably, it will affect the island's future.

The US airlines are seen as most vulnerable, along with 100,000 jobs forecast to be slashed in the industry around the globe this year.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon announced 1500 job cuts then told a business lunch in Sydney a couple of days ago that globalisation, accelerated by permanently higher fuel prices, would result in a ''new aviation world order'''.

''Right now the global aviation industry faces not just a shock or indeed a blip or indeed a crisis really but a permanent transformation,''' Mr Dixon said.

In Bangkok, Terapatr Mathanukraw, an analyst at Seamico Securities, predicted: ''Any airline with a weak financial position has to go out of business.

''The stronger and bigger carriers also have to lower their costs by cutting flights in order to survive until another boom cycle.''

Phuketwan predicts that the oil-rich Middle East players will become more important in any global transformation.

Although the outlook in aviation is uncertain in terms of profits, cash-rich airlines are expanding to take advantage of the situation.

Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, has announced plans to buy 200 new planes and FlyDubai, a new low-cost carrier, has ordered more than 50 Boeing 737-800 aircraft for its launch next year.

Wellness Flies for Bangkok Airways

IN THAILAND, the country's largest privately owned airline, Bangkok Airways, plans to spend more than one billion baht to build three wellness and rejuvenation centres.

The airline also recently bought a golf course for Bt500 million.

Wellness and rejuvination seem a logical diversification for the 40-year-old group that also holds the Bangkok hospital brand and Samui Airport.

Foreign investment is being sought for two of the wellness centres, where the concentration will be on surgery, anti-ageing medicine and holistic approaches to healthcare and well-being.

Come to think of it, wellness is just what the entire aviation industry needs.

The airline hopes to turn Samui into a new tourism hub, with direct links to Hong Kong and Singapore and then Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur to follow.

Similar wellness centres are being proposed for China and India.

Sadly, Phuket seems to be left out of BA's planning.

Latest
TRENDS
from Phuketwan:

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Look for
TRENDS
every day, Monday to Friday, at Phuketwan. It's essential reading.

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Sunday October 17, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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