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Phuket goes feet first into a new era

Trends: Credit Crunch a Numbers Game

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
CRISIS: Phuket ok for now

EXPERTS predict that China, with the Olympics in 2008 as a key to promotion, will be a hot destination in 2008, along with South East Asia.

However, talk of China running Games rings around its rivals came before all the indications of a recession in the US, with reverberations around the world.

For investors and perhaps even those with superannuation tied up in shares, stockmarket falls will bring greater caution in all spending.

Human behavior being fairly predictable, some people are likely to revise their travel plans and perhaps even holiday at home.

At present, with the value of the US dollar down against most currencies, Americans are expected to be among those who choose to stay home.

Direct flights are not the sole reason for Australians flocking to Phuket and Thailand in record numbers. Exchange rates also have a lot to do with it.

According to one economic journalist, for the first time in almost 20 years, the number of Australians going overseas for holidays is set to overtake the number of foreign tourists going to Australia.

Ten years ago, writes Tim Colebatch, there were roughly three tourists arriving in Australia for every Australian tourist who headed overseas.

He says that Thailand has been the biggest beneficiary, with Australian tourists in the 11 months to November trebling from 113,000 in 2003 to 338,000 four years later.

The number of Australians going to China swelled from 99,000 to 257,000, while those heading to India more than doubled from 45,000 to 101,000.

With a new government in Canberra determined to insulate the Australian economy from the upheaval in the US, it's likely the Aussies will keep coming for now.

Americans don't come to Phuket in such large numbers because they prefer closer destinations. But you can bet their Games athletes will make it to China.

AIR SAFETY: New Alarm
CONCERN about the training of foreign pilots on budget airlines in Thailand is growing after recent incidents, and a new investigation in Australia has broadened the focus.

The initial report on an incident at Melbourne airport involving a Thai Boeing 777 on November 4 2007 reveals that airport controllers saw the aircraft coming in under the clouds, unusually low, and transmitted ''low altitude alert, check your altitude immediately'' to the crew.

The copilot, who was at the controls, disengaged the autopilot, climbed to about 1400 ft then manually flew the aircraft in level flight until he could conduct a visual approach.

Ben Sandilands, an aircraft industry specialist, reports on Crikey.com that the pilots were ''hunting for a visual fix on the runway, during which the ground proximity warning system in the airliner went off twice shortly before they were spotted by the tower.

''At that point the underbelly of the jet was only 150 metres above the tranquil rural gardens of the area and doing about 300 kph, or as close to the ground as they should have been just before crossing the airport boundary seconds before touchdown.''

The incident??????s preliminary investigation has now moved from the factual phase to a review of how the crew had been trained, he writes.

VOLUNTOURISM: Rise Tipped
One positive from the tsunami was the amount of help that came afterwards.

''Voluntourism'' gave the Phang Nga region its initial reasons for revival, and now it's a world-wide trend that is tipped to grow more widespread still in 2008.

Gap-year programs among colleges are one cause, along with low airfares. But now the idea has spread from the young to retirees or people who feel they just have to give something back but also want a cultural and social exchange as well. Developing countries are the big beneficiaries.

Another associated trend is solo travel, especially among women. But the professional advice is for them to do their research carefully. Some destinations and situations are safer than others.

Look for more TRENDS on Phuketwan soon

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Thursday February 22, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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