In recent discussions, the Thai government has expressed interest in establishing direct flights from Phuket to Cebu, with the aim of enhancing economic ties between the two nations.
Thailand's Ambassador to the Philippines, Tull Traisorat, revealed this prospect during a meeting at the Manila Polo Club in Makati on January 18, 2024. Traisorat, who served as the guest of honor and speaker at the Rotary Club of Manila event, outlined his plans to advocate for the initiation of direct flights within the current year.
The Economic Impact
Traisorat highlighted the potential benefits of a direct flight connection between Phuket and Cebu, emphasizing its positive impact on tourism and the economies of both the Philippines and Thailand. He sees the direct flights as a catalyst for growth, not only for the tourism sector but also for ancillary businesses associated with the hospitality industry.
Supporting "Two Countries, One Destination"
The envisioned direct flights align with the "Two Countries, One Destination" concept that both nations have been actively promoting. Traisorat envisions a scenario where the Philippines could tap into a significant portion of the tourist influx that frequents Phuket. He noted Phuket's impressive pre-pandemic figures, with more than 100 direct flights weekly from Scandinavia, Japan, and South Korea, bringing in millions of tourists.
By Aaron Ross aross - https://unsplash.com/photos/xE5vmelyM6kImageGallery, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62084562
Cebu: The Ideal Destination
Traisorat explained why Cebu is the ideal choice for the direct flight connection, citing similarities in size, natural environment, and commercial centers between Phuket and Cebu. With both locations boasting similar attributes such as pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs, Traisorat sees Cebu as the perfect match.
Potential Tourist Influx
The Thai ambassador emphasized the need for more direct flights, pointing out that the current two flights per week for Bangkok-Cebu might not be sufficient. By establishing direct Phuket to Cebu flights, Traisorat anticipates a substantial increase in the number of tourists visiting both countries. Drawing a parallel to the significant Thai tourist influx into the Philippines last year, Traisorat envisions Cebu as a gateway for around one million Thai tourists.
The proposal for direct flights from Phuket to Cebu presents a promising avenue for economic and tourism growth. The potential synergy between these two destinations, coupled with the shared vision of "Two Countries, One Destination," creates a compelling case for the establishment of direct air connectivity. As both nations explore this possibility, the future holds exciting prospects for enhanced bilateral relations and mutually beneficial economic outcomes.
This diagram illustrates the direct flight connection between Phuket to Cebu leading to a boost in tourism and economic growth for both regions.