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India’s GoAir joins airlines relaunching direct Phuket flights

India’s GoAir joins airlines relaunching direct Phuket flights

PHUKET: GoAir has become the first airline from India to resume direct flights to Phuket with an inaugural flight by the airline’s low-cost subsidiary GoFirst bringing 187 tourists to the island.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 8 December 2021, 06:19PM

GoFirst Flight G8 1541 direct from Delhi landed at Phuket International Airport on Saturday (Dec 4), marking the beginning of services from Phuket’s fastest growing source market pre-COVID-19.

Present to welcome the tourists were staff from the airport, ready with a welcome banner and a gift bag.

In February last year, Gulu Lalvani, CEO and Founder of Royal Phuket Marina, pointed out that increasing numbers of Indian tourists were set to be a boon for the island’s tourism sector, considering the number of Chinese tourists coming to Phuket even before the pandemic was declining rapidly

The Tourism Authority of Thailand estimated that nearly 2 million Indians visited Thailand in 2019, marking a 24.85% increase over 2018, Mr Lalvani said.

“The strong Thai baht, and many other outside factors, including the US-China trade war and the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus have led to a decrease in Thailand’s overall tourism numbers, with the number of Chinese tourists taking a particularly big hit. Indian numbers, however, continue to grow,” he noted.

“This surge of Indian tourists has been of particular help to Phuket. Indian arrivals to Phuket in 2019 grew year-over-year by 298%, due largely to the launch of GoAir direct flights from Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai in October 2018,” he added.

According to a January 2020 report from C9 Hotelworks, total year-on-year arrivals to Phuket in 2019 declined by 4% in Q1 and 7% in Q2. The numbers of travellers from Europe and Australia shrank, while Chinese arrivals declined year-over-year by 9%.

“However, passenger arrivals balanced out over the third and fourth quarters of 2019 – growing by 3% and 8% respectively. This resurgence of tourism numbers was buoyed by growing demand from the Asian markets of Malaysia, Singapore and, most notably, India,” Mr Lalvani said.

Middle-class Indian tourists have been providing a much-needed boost for Phuket’s mid-range resorts and Food & Beverage outlets, Mr Lalvani added.

“India has a population of over 1.3 billion people and will soon surpass China as the most populous country on Earth. As their economic power rises, more and more Indians are developing an appetite for international travel,” Mr Lalvani said..


Thai Residential

More airlines have been resuming direct flights to Phuket, including European travel giant TUI, as well as Finnair.

Most recently, HK Express Airlines resumed their direct flights from Hong Kong with Flight UO 723 landing in Phuket at 7:20pm yesterday (Dec 7).

Meanwhile, THAI Airways International also yesterday launched roundtrip Phuket-Sydney flights in response to Thailand’s reopening policy.

Thai Airways International Chief Commercial Officer Nond Kalinta announced that the roundtrip Phuket-Sydney-Phuket flights operate three times a week, provided by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The round-trip flights will continue through to March 25, he said.

The launch of thrice-weekly flights was “in response to increasing travel demand and in support of the Government’s Phuket Sandbox project as well as the national reopening policy”, he said.

According to the THAI press release, the flight details are as follows:

- Phuket-Sydney operate every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: TG477 departs from Phuket at 18.50 and arrives in Sydney at 07.30 (next day). 

- Sydney-Phuket operate every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday: TG478 departs from Sydney at 09.30 and arrives in Phuket at 14.40. 

THAI Airways also provides roundtrip Bangkok-Sydney flights four times per week which depart from Bangkok on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and depart from Sydney on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

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Timothy | 10 December 2021 - 10:19:52

Apriath, I agree first impressions do count. If you look at the parking area, there is no landscaping. They don't even bother to cut the weeds that are growing out of sections between concrete. Old traffic cones, car tires, chunks of concrete, plastic garbage, it's a joke. The first thing you see when you arrive is a mess and a bunch of aggressive rip-off taxi drivers. 

Apirath | 09 December 2021 - 19:56:51

Guess in the coming days many other airlines are going to resume flights to Phuket. Perhaps the airport should switch to using LCD displays. A life sized LED display saying “Welcome back!” in the arrival hall too. First impression counts


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