Tourism revenue increases

Aow Nang Beach, Krabi. Photo: SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUN

Tourism revenue during the first quarter of this year has risen to 730 billion baht, up 9% from the same period last year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

About 67% or 490 billion baht came from 9.2 million international visitors and the remaining 240 billion baht was generated by domestic tourists, who made 32.5 million trips during the first three months.

The top three highest growths in international tourists came from South Asia (18%), followed by the Americas (15%), Europe (8%) and the Middle East (7%).

TAT expects that the growth of both international and domestic tourists will continue to the second quarter with an 11% year-on-year increase on revenue to 630 billion baht.

"We've seen healthy growth from all markets during the first quarter. We expect this growth momentum to continue to the second quarter," he said, adding that the positive factors would be that the Kingdom would host a number of international events such as the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit 2017 from April 26-27 in Bangkok, and the Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017 from May 2-4 in Phuket.

TAT will also organise a series of roadshows in China to attract high-spending tourists, he said.

For the period of Songkran, Wednesday to Monday, TAT expects at least 470,000 international visitors, up 10% over last Songkran, and will generate about 8 billion baht (US$233 million).

Second Thai-Myanmar bridge

The second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge is expected to be completed in September. It will cross the Moei River and link Mae Sot in Tak province with Myawaddy in Myanmar.

The project agreement of Thai and Myanmar governments was signed in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, on Sep 10, 2015. The aim is to ease traffic on the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge. The second will also promote trade, tourism and logistics between the two countries and serve the development of the East-West Economic Corridor, which also includes trade among Thailand and Indochina.

Total cost of the project is 3.9 billion baht, funded by the Thai government. About 1.8 billion is allocated for a 21.5km-long four-lane road in Mae Sot to Myawaddy, while the 760m-long two-lane concrete bridge crossing the Moei River will cost around 800 million baht.

About 1 billion baht will be reserved for a border checkpoint at Ban Wang Takhian Tai in Tha Sai Luad, about 5km from the first Thai-Myanmar Bridge. The remaining 310 million baht will be spent for facilities in Myanmar.

The second bridge is expected to officially open in two years, when all facilities are completed.

Airlines update

Thai Airways launched four weekly Beijing-Phuket direct flights last week.

The service is operated by a 264-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and flights depart from Phuket International Airport at 10.05pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Return trips from Beijing will be at 5.55am and arrive Phuket at 10.30am. Travel time is five hours and 35 minutes.

Thai Airways is the third airline offering direct flights between the two cities, after Hainan Airlines and Air China.


Low-cost airline Thai Lion Air last week launched three weekly direct flights between Bangkok and Nanchang in Southeast China.

The service -- using a 206-seat Boeing 737 -- is the first non-stop between the two cities.

The flight departs from Don Mueang International Airport at 8.25am on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and the return trip from Nanchang Changbei International Airport is at 1.50pm. Travel time is three hours and 35 minutes.

Nanchang is the capital of Jiangxi province. Its famous attractions include Lushan National Park and Poyang Lake.


Hotels update

Kantary Hills Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Chiang Mai, has opened 64 new studio suites.

The new type of room is the smallest among the three that also include one-0 and two-bedroom suites. The size of the studio suite is 46-54m², while existing suites have space usage from 61m²-115m².

Also provided are meeting rooms, a restaurant, coffee shop, fitness centre, sauna and steam rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi.

The property is on Nimmanhaemin Road, about 6km north of Chiang Mai Airport.


Sala Hospitality Group plans to open the first phase of Sala Samui Chaweng Beach Resort and Spa around November.

The resort will feature 135 rooms, including suites and pool villas. Room sizes range from 63m²-304m². Other facilities will include an open-air beachfront restaurant, beach bar, swimming pool, spa and fitness centre.

The resort will be fully completed within the next year.

Sala Samui Chaweng Beach Resort and Spa is the third Salaresort after Sala Samui Choengmon Beach Resort and Spa in Bo Put subdistrict and Sala Phuket Resort & Spa.


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