12 June 2022

Thousands of Malaysians are once more flocking to the idyllic Thai island of Phuket. -AFP file pic
Thousands of Malaysians are once more flocking to the idyllic Thai island of Phuket. -AFP file pic

Thousands of Malaysians are once more flocking to the idyllic Thai island of Phuket.

While AirAsia is operating fully booked daily flights to Phuket from klia2, other airlines like Scoot, Indigo, Emirates and Thai Airways are flying in from elsewhere.

Other Malaysian favourites in Thailand are Bangkok, Krabi, Koh Samui, Phatthalung, Pattaya, Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Haadyai, Dannok, Betong and Sungai Golok.

Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Malaysia and Brunei director Nongyao Jirundorn told the ‘New Straits Times’ that Phuket is popular with Malaysian families, who want a holiday by the Andaman Sea.

She said the kingdom is expected to ease travel restrictions even more next month.

Nongyao said this at the conclusion of ‘Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2022’ (TTM+ 2022) at Angsana Laguna Phuket.

Phuket is also drawing large numbers of visitors from the Asean region, India and Europe, she said.

A boutique tour agency said 2,000 Malaysian travel and tour agents visited Phuket during TTM+ 2022, thanks to TAT.

“We were introduced to dozens of Thai businesses and agents, as well as hotel, restaurant and recreational facilities,” said managing director Daniel Leow.

“The demand is already picking up as tourists are aware of the value-for-money holiday packages.”

Meanwhile, a famous seafood restaurant here, Kan Eang 2, is already heavily booked by foreign tourists for lunches, dinners and wedding receptions.

The restaurant, at Chalong in the Mueang district, just opposite the island’s southwest lighthouse, is a favourite spot during sunset.

The owner, Malinee Nunsuwang, 43, said foreign tourists are returning to the 14-year-old restaurant.

“We somehow weathered the storm during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“This was made possible by strict cost-saving measures, drastic reduction in overheads and slashing the staff’s salary by half.

“We offered our staff alternative tasks to undertake, such as renovations and maintenance.

“We did this to retain experienced staff, knowing that the business would open someday,” said Malinee, who is assisted by marketing consultant Apiraee Jitharn.

“We also offered a 30 per cent discount to locals to attract domestic tourism.”

She said before the pandemic the restaurant could easily take in seven million baht a month.

Her family operates another beach restaurant Kan Eang @ Pier nearby.

Malinee thanked her mother and chief cook Latda Nunsuwan, 70, for encouraging her to remain in business.

“My mother inherited the business from my late grandfather Sanit Prachantabutr and we have built it to what it is today,” said Malinee, whose restaurant also includes the Sunfish breakfast café, Plamong cocktail bar, Cellar for wines and spirits, and a conference hall that can accommodate 450 people.

Source: www.nst.com.my

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