GoAir will mark its first foray into international skies after more than a decade of domestic operations, and will use its A320 aircraft to provide the new service.
“With the introduction of these flights, the airline will increase its operations by 28 flights to a total of 1,680 flights per week. GoAir aims to amplify and replicate its domestic success story, redefining its fly smart experience and value proposition in the aviation industry,” the airline announced in a press release.
GoAir will operate three direct flights per week between Mumbai and Phuket, and two direct flights per week between Delhi and Phuket. Return fares on both routes for the launch will start from an all-inclusive INR18,999 (B8,480).
The launch of the Phuket flights will be followed with the launch on Oct 14 of three GoAir direct flights per week between Mumbai and the Maldives capital Malé and two direct flights per week between Delhi and Male.
“It is with great pride that we announce the commencement of our maiden international operations. Phuket and Male are key tourist destination and hold a lot of promise,” GoAir CEO Cornelis Vrieswijk said.
“As an LCC, we have always strived to offer the best value for money to our customers and now we extend this proposition to the international traveller as well. The international schedules have been planned to allow quick and convenient connections for customers and is a reflection of our continued journey towards excellence.”
A delegation of representatives from Phuket held a tourism trade ‘road show’ in Kolkata on Aug 31 and in Chennai on Sept 3.
The road show was organised by the Phuket Tourist Association and supported by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Leading the delegation was Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) Vice President Sarayuth Mallam, joined by Dr Vallee Laksanapayak, TAT’s Regional Director, Asean, South and South Pacific, and Kulprapha Wanthana of TAT’s Asean Tourism Division.
The Phuket delegation, representing 30 tour operators and airlines, was welcomed at the Kolkata event by Isra Stapanaseth, Director of the TAT New Delhi office, and at the Chennai event by by Pakvipa Ahviphan, the Deputy Consul-General of the Royal Thai Consulate-General, Chennai.
Over the two days the Phuket delegates met representatives from 120 leading travel agents in India.
PTA Vice President Rangsiman Kingkaew noted, “Kolkata and Chennai are India’s major business cities, and visitors from India are more likely to come to Phuket.
The Indian market is a “new market and a secondary market” after China, Mr Rangsiman said.
“So this is a great opportunity for operators, and it adds diversity to Phuket’s source markets for tourism. This trip brings operators to meet the buyers directly and will result in more Indian tourists coming to Phuket,” he added.
TAT New Delhi office Director Mr Isra pointed out that according to statistics of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Indian tourists to Thailand reached 1,411,942 people last year – an increase of 18.2% compared with 2016 and generating more than B62 billion in revenue for the Thai tourism industry.
“The Indian market is an interesting group that has a high growth rate and high spending rate (per person). The target group is a high-end tourist,” he said.
“The Amazing Thailand Road Show was held in India this time in order to provide Thai operators the opportunity to visit Indian travel agencies directly as part of the campaign ‘Open to the New Shades’, which aims to highlight the unique identity of Thai people, especially the culture, traditions, food as well as Thai cultural tourism destinations that are waiting to welcome tourists from around the world, especially wedding groups, wellness tourists, honeymooners, shopping tourists, family groups and new tourist groups, such as the golf tourism and business traveller (MICE) segments,” he added.
“Tour operators who joined this roadshow said that tourism products have always been interesting to the Indian market, and that they expect to receive a boost in profits of more than 10% on last year due to the new Mumbai to Phuket flights. This is a good sign for every operator,” Mr Isra said.
PPAO Deputy Chief Administrator (Deputy Palad) Satien Kaewpraprab noted that the PPAO had been supporting such road shows for more than 10 years by funding the trade expeditions.
“The PPAO recognises the importance of the development of Phuket, and has been supporting the budget through the Phuket Tourist Association for over 10 years to help the Phuket economy to grow.
“I hope that the entrepreneurs who attend road shows abroad serve as a ‘cultural tourism ambassadors’ and attract tourists to Phuket. After completing the mission in India. We will travel to road show in Guangzhou, China, in January,” he added.
The PPAO also funded the Phuket tourism road show to Russia in August, visiting Moscow, Kazan and St Petersburg, and engaging in trade talks with 181 representatives from 125 businesses. (See story here.)