Phuket FantaSea to open B5bn ‘Carnival Magic’ theme park


Phuket FantaSea celebrates its 20th anniversary with the grand opening of the world’s first Thai Carnival Theme Park in Thailand. Built with a budget of over B5 billion (US$160 million) and spanning over 40 acres (100 rai), Carnival Magic aspires to become an exciting new landmark tourist destination in Asia and is expected to attract over 1 million tourists per year with annual revenue of no less than B1.5 billion.

Carnival Magic Co Ltd is an affiliate of Phuket FantaSea Co Ltd and is located in Kamala Beach in Phuket province, adjacent to Phuket FantaSea.

Kittikorn Kewkacha, the CEO of Phuket FantaSea Public Company Limited and Carnival Magic Co Ltd, explained the significance of creating this new project.

“This year is the 20th anniversary of Phuket FantaSea. We are celebrating it with the opening of an astonishing and uniquely new project – Carnival Magic, one of the largest nighttime theme parks ever constructed, and the first of its kind in the world.”

Inspired by the many traditional festivals, carnivals and market fairs that abound throughout the Kingdom, Carnival Magic aims to establish itself as the very first Thai Carnival Theme Park, rejoicing in the vibrancy of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and offering an experience unmatched by any other theme park on earth.

“Our mission was to establish a landmark destination that would encourage more visitors to the island, and in so doing, help create jobs, stimulate the local economy and ultimately boost the local tourism industry. We wanted to offer something positive, entertaining, uplifting, and welcoming that would showcase the beautiful uniqueness of Thai culture with the enhancement of modern technology and special effects.”

Carnival Magic consists of 4 main zones:

Zone 1 – Carnival Fun Fair: an exciting and colorful carnival-themed street fair offering themed shopping arcades, boutique eateries and bars, street dancing and parade performers, fun games, kiddie rides and lots of guest activities.

Various quality products from all regions of Thailand will be featured in one-of-a-kind themed souvenir shops lavishly decorated with carnival lights and Thai inspired architectural features.

Zone 2 – Bird of Paradise Restaurant: A fully air-conditioned gala buffet restaurant that can accommodate over 3,000 visitors and is reached by passing through an enchanted Garden of Paradise entranceway. With an interior design suggesting a heavenly hall watched over by 2 giant peacock sculptures in full plumage, Bird of Paradise will offer over 100 varieties of menu items featuring delicacies from all around the world. Three separate dining halls are also available for private dining events.

Alternatively, the River of Bliss Restaurant offers a more opulent dining experience within a design inspired by the world famous Loy Kratong festival. The 400-seat dining room is lavishly accented with giant Kratongs (lotus float) reflecting the best of traditional Thai craftsmanship.

A special feature of this restaurant is that guests will first arrive at a waterfall known as “Happiness Falls” and ascend to the restaurant via a mystical barge called the “Barge of Happiness” which rises approximately 7 meters to deliver guests into this uniquely themed restaurant.

Zone 3 – River Palace Theater: The River Palace Paradium is a parade stadium presenting the first ever production show of its kind in the world. Offering seating for approximately 2,000 guests and featuring a performance stage 70 meters long and 22 meters wide, the entire building measures over 200 meters in length, making it one of the largest theaters ever constructed in the world.

Featuring giant record-breaking pageant wagons and flying parade floats, the theater also boasts state-of-the-art lighting, sound and special FX, including one of the largest LED screens ever to be installed in a theater and the largest parade float ever constructed at 70 meters long comparable in length to an Airbus A380.

With production features such as aerial ballet, animatronics and gigantic creatures, and a cast and crew of over 300 on one of the largest stages ever built, the River Palace Parade highlights the very best of Thai culture in an original new presentation.

Zone 4 – Kingdom of Lights: An enchanting world of sparkling gardens and breathtaking landscapes beautifully decorated with over 40 million lights. The main highlight of this zone is the “River of Lights” which features luminaries laced with tens of millions of lights, over 50 kilometers in length overall, and best observed by crossing a dazzling lake-spanning bridge offering a panoramic view of the entire illuminated zone.

In presenting his strategy for introducing Carnival Magic as an iconic international tourist destination, Mr Kittikorn explained, “We emphasized the importance of a 360 degree proactive marketing plan, using both online and offline platforms. We promote this project not only domestically, but also overseas, in more than 40 countries where people have traditionally enjoyed traveling to Thailand. We also provide road shows to popular tourist destinations in Phuket and in other provinces all over Thailand. This project is also being promoted to thousands of domestic and international travel agencies, which have been a steady source of alliance for a long time.

“We have started to promote our brand using online media and TV exposure from now until next year. The targeted group for ‘Carnival Magic’ is divided into both the international market as well as the domestic Thai market place, with the proportion of 70:30 respectively. We expect to attract more than 1 million tourists per year, with projected earnings of not less than B1.5 billion per year.”

“Carnival Magic is our dream project and a gift to the people of Phuket and all of Thailand. And we sincerely hope that it will become a new, wonder filled destination that all visitors will enjoy and all Thais can be proud of.”

Mr Kittikorn also expressed his hopes for the future development of the tourism industry overall which maintains a huge potential in Phuket province, a destination notable for its natural beauty, established tourist accommodations and its ability to facilitate tourists within its existing infrastructure.

He noted that there are approximately 12 million tourists visiting Phuket per year, generating an average revenue of B400 billion yearly. 70% of those tourists are foreigners, so that the participation from every relevant sector, both governmental and private, is crucial to achieving lasting prosperity.

“We are deeply committed to creating a new tourist attraction that showcases our unique and richly colorful Thai culture and to deliver a truly original tourist experience, quite different from other tourist destinations. And we believe that this will ultimately increase revenue, stimulate local economic growth and improve investing sentiment in the province.”

Carnival Magic will officially open in early 2020. For more information, please contact the project’s Public Relations Department: Tel. 076 563 888, Fax. 076 563 889, or Email:

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 28, 2019

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Chinese tourist arrivals surge 31% for Sept, year on year


PHUKET: According to the Ministry of Tourism & Sports (MoTS) latest statistics, the number of Chinese international tourist arrivals for September surged from 647,711 in September last year, to 852,130 this year – a jump of 31.56%.

The latest statistics from the MoTS (click here) also report a corresponding 31.63% jump in tourim revenues generated by Chinese international arrivals, from B34.195 billion in September last year to B45.013bn during September this year.

The news comes amid a slew of reports marking a huge downfall in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country, and Phuket hoteliers reportedly slashing room prices in the hope of attracting more visitors.

Similarly, the statistics report a 26.9% increase in the number of international arrivals from India, from

122,933 in Sept 2018 to 155,998 this year – along with a 30.86% increase in spending during the month from B5,379bn in Sept last year to B7.038bn during the month this year.

However, the bumper increase in Chinese visitors for Sept year on year saw the total number of Chinese arrivals for Jan-Sept 2019 rise only 1.71%, year on year, from 8,374,822 for the first nine months of last year to 8,518,031 so far this year.

Also, spending by Chinese tourists for the first nine months rose 4.14% year on year, from B409.932bn for Jan-Sept last year to B426.887bn this year.

India as a source market continued apace with arrivals increasing by 25.6% year on year, from 1,171,391 in 2018 to 1,471,218 this year – with a 31.14% year on year increase in spending, from B47.307bn last year to B62.037bn this year

Of note, Australian tourist arrivals to Thailand for Jan-Sept remains down 3.12% compared with last year, with the number of tourist arrivals from Sweden falling 10.02% year on year.

In total, the first nine months of 2019 saw international tourist arrivals to Thailand rise 3.51%, from 28,467,686 last year to 29,465,732 this year.

Overall spending during the same nine months also grew by 3.45%, from B1.381 trillion to B1.429trn.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 24, 2019

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Cabinet extends Visa on Arrival fee waiver for six months


BANGKOK: The Cabinet has approved a six-month extension of the Visa on Arrival fee waiver campaign for visitors, to help generate more tourism spending in Thailand, reports state news agency NNT.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisaranakul announced today (Oct 24) that the Cabinet has approved in principle the draft fee waiver extension of Visa on Arrival for an additional six months from the expiry of the initial campaign on Oct 31, until April 30, 2020.

Under the campaign, a B2,000 Visa on Arrival fee is waived for eligible visitors. The campaign has been proven to increase tourist numbers in Thailand, the report said.

The waiver will cost the government B10.764 billion in lost revenue from fee collection, but is expected to generate B144.732bn revenue from tourism.

The Cabinet has also discussed a quota increase for Thai participants in Australia’s Work and Holiday program from 500 to 2,000 annually. The campaign allows Thai youth, selected by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, to legally work and travel in Australia.

The fee waiver extension for Visas on Arrival is available to nationals from Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

In August, the Cabinet resolved to extend the period for free visas on arrival for visitors from China, India and other countries, but rejected a proposal to waive visas entirely for Chinese and Indian visitors, to boost the economy.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn pushed for the move, calling the step “the ministry’s most urgent stimulus policy, without which tourism arrival growth might not reach our target.”

Joining the call were Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn and Tourism Council of Thailand President Chairat Trirattanajarasporn.

Meanwhile, earlier this year tourists from several other countries received what the Tourism & Sports ministry sought for Indians and Chinese.

Some countries whose nationals who were previously permitted Visas on Arrival were earlier this year granted entry to the country for 30-day stays under Visa Exemption status. In particular, visas for trips to Thailand for tourist purposes for up to 30 days are no longer required for citizens of Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania.

For the full list of countries whose nationals are entitled to entry under the Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme and under bilateral agreements, click here.

Of note, countries on the list include Australia, Norway, France, Germany, Denmak, Sweden and Russia.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 24, 2019

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Tourism operators bank on TAT schemes


BANGKOK: Thanks to less-complicated processes, tourism operators hope new campaigns by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will continue to prop up domestic travel.

Phuriwat Limthavornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said 60-70% of association members joined the two campaigns – Visit Thailand With 100 Baht and Shocking Price Weekday Travel – planned for November and December.

He attributed the high participation to the less-complex systems luring travellers and operators to join the plans compared with the Taste-Shop-Spend scheme, another tourism stimulus strategy that gives away B1,000 to 10 million registrants.

Mr Phuriwat acknowledged that the cash handout scheme has benefited local tourism, with the recent three-day weekend of Oct 12-14 reporting growth of over 50% in the sector, the highest in the past nine months.

“The new campaigns will gain more attention from Thais who travel during the high season and could increase the number of tourists travelling locally by 3%,” he said.

Registration is at the TAT website. For the Visit Thailand With 100 Baht scheme, registrants who have an e-banking and mobile phone number can join the campaign via the website on Nov 11, Nov 12, Dec 11 and Dec 12.

The Shocking Price Weekday Travel campaign for tourism products will begin on Nov 1 on a first come, first served basis.

In addition to travel agencies, about 1,000 restaurants are expected to participate in the Shocking Price Weekday Travel campaign.

Some of them are popular dining places, namely Je Ngor Seafood, Rom Mai Rim Na, Praram 9 Kaiyang, Gyu Gyu Tei and Brasserie 9, said Thaniwan Koonmongkon, president of the Thai Restaurant Association.

The campaign will increase traffic in the restaurant business, which is normally light with the number of diners during weekdays some 40-50% lower than during weekends, she said.

Ms Thaniwan said the two-month campaign will help create brand awareness of participating restaurants.

Supawan Tanomkieatipume, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said hotel operators outside Bangkok can gain from the campaigns because they will receive more guests travelling to the provinces during the high season.

“After receiving positive feedback from the Taste-Shop-Spend measures, we learned that our hotel members are interested in joining the new campaigns,” Ms Supawan said.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 21, 2019 by Bangkok Post

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Cabinet OKs new perks for tourism


BANGKOK: The economic Cabinet on Friday approved a new round of tourism measures, aiming for the number of foreign visitors to reach 39.8 million and generate B2.04 trillion baht this year.

Kobsak Pootrakool, Deputy Secretary-General to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for Political Affairs, said the new tourism stimulus measures cover both short-term measures for this year and some for 2020. They will be submitted for Cabinet approval next week.

The government also set a target to attract 41.8 million foreign visitors and generate B2.2trn in tourism revenue next year.

Mr Kobsak said the short-term measures include free re-entry visas for foreign tourists who visit neighbouring countries by land, increased value-added tax (VAT) refund agents, more downturn VAT refund venues and VAT refunds in cash on the spot.

A measure to make it easier for the 150,000 expatriates in the country to travel nationwide without reporting to the authorities as required by Section 37 of the 1979 Immigration Act, also known as TM30, will also be introduced.

The rule requires foreigners who receive a long-term visas to report within 24 hours to authorities when they travel to other provinces that are not their residence.

Expats are also required to report their whereabouts every 90 days to the authorities.

Thailand charges B2,000 for single-entry visas lasting three months.

Companies will also be allowed to claim deductions of up to two times expenses if they organise seminars in the country.

Mr Kobsak said the government will open checkpoints with Laos and Malaysia around the clock during weekends and long holidays. This measure is to last three months.

The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale is planned for three months – from Nov 1 to January – with discounts of up to 70%, Mr Kobsak said. Some 400 shops are expected to participate, up from 200 last year.

The event helped raise the spending of foreign visitors to B2,800 per day per person last year from normal spending of B1,250 per day.

For medium- and long-term measures, Mr Kobsak said the government aims to improve the standards of accommodation and safety, as well as increase the number of world heritage tourism spots.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said his agency and related agencies will introduce mega events to lure foreign visitors and increase their spending.

These events include the Ultra-Trail, Amazing Thailand Marathon Series, MotoGP and Super GT races.

Concert events will include Tomorrow Land, Electric Daisy Carnival and the Ultra Music Festival.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 12, 2019 by Bangkok Post

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Study shows Phuket has highest number of tourists per square mile


A study published by Travel Daily News reveals that Phuket has the highest number of tourists per square mile, with 5,090.

The research was carried out by Columbus Direct, who examined visitor numbers in the world’s most popular places. With over 9 million visitors a year, Thailand’s largest island has ten times more tourists per square mile than Barcelona, Spain.

Study shows Phuket has highest number of tourists per square mile | News by The Thaiger

The findings also show that Bangkok gets the highest number of tourists overall, with an incredible 20,050,000 – that’s 10 million more than Phuket. Bangkok’s size means the capital city welcomes a relatively comfortable 91 tourists per square mile.

Travel News Daily reports that Phuket’s beautiful beaches, picturesque scenery and buzzing atmosphere make it an attractive destination for all budgets and that it currently welcomes 9.2 million visitors a year. Palma de Mallorca comes second for the most visitors per square mile, with 2,918, nearly half that of Phuket.

Another Thai hotspot, Pattaya, comes in third place, with 2,762 visitors per square mile.

Stuart Lloyd from Columbus Direct says tourism is vital to keeping these popular Thai destinations alive.

“Tourism is hugely important for all major cities across the globe, particularly for those where there is a high density of international visitors per square mile. As for Phuket and Pattaya, it brings these destinations to life and gives them their famous name of being a top holiday location and a place with a lively atmosphere for people to have a good time.”

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on October 10, 2019 by Travel Daily News

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AoT welcomes Chinese tourists to Phuket for Golden Week, as hordes flock to Chiang Mai


PHUKET: Phuket International Airport General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo together with airport staff, Immigration officers and Thai Airways international staff yesteday (Oct 3) welcomed and gave gifts to Chinese tourists arriving in Phuket for the “Golden Week” China national day holidays.

In all, 360 Chinese tourists were welcomed with gifts on arrival at the airport: 180 arriving on Air China Flight CA717 from Hangzhou, and 180 on China Southern Airlines Flight CZ6093 from Shenzhen.

However, the number of Chinese flying into Chiang Mai to celebrate their annual Golden Week holiday, from Oct 1-7, is expected to show an increase of 9.1% this year over 2018 reports the Bangkok Post.

Chiang Mai International Airport Director Amornrak Xumsai Na Ayudhaya said today (Oct 4) that there were no special flights or an increase in flights from China to Chiang Mai during the long holiday this year. Airlines operating on this route now had enough regular flights to handle the influx.

Chiang Mai airport now had 28 international services, of which 17 were with important towns in China. A total of 17 Chinese airlines now had flights into Chiang Mai, reported the Bangkok Post.

 Mr Amornrak predicted that 23,000 Chinese tourists would visit Chiang Mai on Oct 1-7, a 9.1% increase on Golden Week last year.

However, numbers were still down comparatively. In 2017 Chinese arrivals for Golden Week were up 17.1% on last year’s figure.

Mr Amornrak expected the total number of Chinese arrivals at Chiang Mai airport this year to exceed one million. Last year, 890,000 Chinese tourists arrived through Chiang Mai airport.

Last Saturday (Sept 28), Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana announced that the Phuket Vegetarian Festival this year is expected to generate B2 billion in tourism revenue. (See story here.)

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 4, 2019

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Deputy PM, Tourism Minister approve 90-day, visa-free stays for American, Japanese medical tourists


BANGKOK: The Directing Committee of the International Health Center has approved a proposal to include the United States and Japan in the group of countries from which patients may have medical treatment in Thailand for a period of 90 days without needing a visa.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister, and Tourism & Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitparkarn approved in principle the inclusion of the United States and Japan in the 90-day medical treatment visa-waiver program, reported state news agency NNT.

The inclusion of the two countries brought the total number of nations in the scheme to13 >the other 11 are the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China.

Mr Anutin confirmed yesterday (Sept 29) that the government is focused on the promotion of innovation and medical excellence, as well as health-related tourism, to add economic value, the NNT report said.

Over 3.4 million health-related visits were made to Thailand last year, generating over B28 billion in revenue, he said.

Thailand, which has 68 internationally recognised health service units, the most in Asean, plans to turn the country into a world Medical Hub in 2020, he added.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on September 30, 2019

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Phuket to be unaffected by Thomas Cook collapse, says local TAT chief


PHUKET: The collapse of the world’s oldest travel firm, Thomas Cook, into bankruptcy this week will have little effect on Phuket’s tourism industry, the chief of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office has announced.

Even with Phuket the preferred destination for British tourists coming to Thailand, the closure of Thomas Cook will not affect overall tourism in the province, especially over the upcoming high season, TAT Phuket office director Kanokkittika Kritwuttikorn told the Bangkok Post yesterday (Sept 24).

Most of those affected are luxury British tourists who can use other companies’ services, she said. (See Bangkok Post report here.)

In Phuket, the major tourist source markets are China, Russia and Australia, she added.

Mrs Kanokkittika said the partial closure of a runway at Phuket airport for maintenance from midnight to 9am has caused flight delays, a bigger issue for the province.

From January to August, the number of international arrivals in Phuket stood at 6.9 million, down 0.6% from last year.

The news flies against the move by Thailand to cut its arrivals target from Britain from an estimated 1 million this year.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the TAT will also assess the possible impact that might occur in Scandinavia, where tourists also use the services of the British travel firm.

Last year 954,404 travellers from Britain visited Thailand, and some 600,000 from Scandinavian countries.

Mr Yuthasak said the TAT is set to discuss the impact from the closure today  (Sept 25) with operators before releasing a new projection.

The talk will include agencies such as Asian Trails, the main destination management company for Thomas Cook, and hoteliers at popular beach locations such as Phuket, Phang Nga and Koh Samui, namely Dusit Thani, Anantara and Mandara.

“Most tourists who used Thomas Cook already received round-trip tickets. The biggest problem will be in the hotel sector, especially for travellers who use Thomas Cook’s vouchers,” he said.

Mr Yuthasak said Tourism and Sports Minister Phitphat Ratchakitprakarn ordered TAT to provide assistance to British tourists if needed.

Vichit Prakobgosol, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, said the closure of Thomas Cook will slightly affect Thai tourism because it occurred in the low season.

He said the fall of the firm, caused by the failure of a Brexit deal and a depreciating currency, is a wake-up call for tour operators about the impact of digital disruption as intense price wars from online travel agencies take a bite.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on September 25, 2019

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Phuket most tourists per square mile in world, says report


PHUKET: With 9.29 million visitors per year, an average of 25,452 visitors per day, Phuket has the highest number of visitors per square mile per day than any other tourist destination in the world, according to a new report released by specialist travel insurance intermediary Columbus Direct.

“Known for having some of the world’s most picturesque beaches, hanging palm trees and lively atmosphere, Phuket offers something for everyone on all budgets, attracting over 9.2 million tourists each year – and with just over 380,000 people living there, it’s clear to see that tourists keep the holiday destination alive,” said a Columbus Direct release announcing the news.

With 5,090 tourists per square mile, Phuket outpaced in second-placed Palma de Mallorca, which recorded 2,918 visitors per square mile each day, said the report.

Pattaya ranked third with 2,762 visitors per square mile each day, ahead of Paris, France (1,174 visitors per sq mile) and Barcelona (605)..

Bangkok receives the highest number of tourists in the world overall at a whopping 20,050,000 – more than 10 million more than Phuket, the report added.

However, due to its size, the Thai capital receives just 91 tourists per square mile, Columbus Direct noted.

London receives the second-highest number of international visitors in the world (19.83 million) and placed send in the tourist-density rankings with 89 tourists per square mile, the report added.

Stuart Lloyd, Travel Insurance Expert at Columbus Direct said, “It is great to see the popularity of some of the world’s most cultural and historic cities, with millions of tourists travelling across the globe to visit them each year. Tourism is hugely important for all major cities across the globe, particularly for those where there is a high density of international visitors per square mile.

“As for Phuket and Pattaya, it brings these destinations to life and gives them their famous name of being a top holiday location and a place with a lively atmosphere for people to have a good time,” he said.

“London is the second most visited city in the world overall – it is interesting that despite these enormous visiting figures, it holds one of the fewest tourists per square mile. With a variety of sites to see dotted across our capital, tourists have endless opportunities to explore and feel what it’s like to be a true Londoner,” he added.

In conducting its analysis, Columbus Direct used the total number of international visitors from Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index and divided that number by 365 to reveal how many visitors there were per day.

The study assumed a one night stay for each visitor.

“We then used wikipedia to find out the city area size of each city and divided the total number of tourists per day by the city size to reveal how many tourists there are per square mile per day,” explained the release.

The report invited readers to view the data here.

See the full research findings here.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on September 20, 2019

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