Thai AirAsia CEO calls for infrastructure improvements
PHUKET: The Chief Executive Officer of Thai AirAsia, Tassapon Bijleveld, has called for the improvement of Phuket’s infrastructure to support tourism growth when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) starts in 2015.
Saturday 21 July 2012, 01:07PM
Speaking during the Phuket Creative Tourism Forum at Rajabhat University yesterday (July 20), Mr Bijleveld said Phuket had high potential to be a regional hub of southern Thailand.
However, the improvement of infrastructure such as the expansion of the Phuket International Airport (PIA) was required.
Mr Bijleveld said about 120 million people in the Asian-Pacific region travel on a plane each year.
Fifty three per cent of those are people belonging to countries of Asean, which means Asean countries is a large market for tourism.
The countries in Asean are Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
In addition, 47 per cent of the total number of tourists who visited Thailand were from Asean countries, he said.
“To support the growth of tourism, the PIA will need to be upgraded and expanded,” said Mr Bijleveld.
Mr Bijleveld believed the limitation of PIA’s capacity also prevent the establishment of new charter flights, which would expand Phuket’s tourism market.
For example, one Indian wedding brought more than 200 Indian guests to Phuket, with about USD5 million to spend on their trip.
This market is expected to expand in Phuket, however there are still no direct flights from India to Phuket.
In addition, Mr Bijleveld said Phuket needed good public transportation to improve tourism, and perhaps even a bigger deep sea port to support high-end tourists who came on cruise ships.
“About 1,000 to 1,500 passengers can come on a cruise ship, which is ten times more than the number of passengers coming on one flight,” he said.
“If we can improve the deep sea port, it will help boost the tourism industry.”