Dubai – December 13, 2012: The Tourism Authority of Thailand marked the start of a daily Emirates Airlines flight between Dubai and Phuket by hosting a high-level delegation of 10 media and five special guests aboard the inaugural service on December 10.

Phuket, the biggest island in Thailand and now the second most important tourist city after Bangkok, has become Emirates’ second destination in Thailand. The flights have been launched in time for the holiday high season.

Operated by a 267-seat Airbus A340-300 aircraft, EK378 will depart Dubai at 1245hrs and arrive at Phuket at 2155hrs. The return flight, EK379 will depart at 0035hrs the following day and arrive at Dubai at 0435hrs.

The TAT designed the December 10-14 trip in line with the themes, “Phuket and Beyond” and “Family Destination.” The itinerary was packaged to showcase the broad range of fabulous tourism products and services both in Phuket as well as surrounding provinces.

In addition to the media from various print publications and TV stations, the TAT hosted five guests of honour: Mr. Warawudh Chuwiruch, Ambassador, Royal Thai Embassy, UAE, and his wife; Brigadier Obaid Mehayer Bin Suroor, Deputy Director of Dubai Immigration, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (DNRD); Mr. Khalid Bin Touq, Executive Director Licensing & Classification Section, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), and Mr. Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President, Far East & Australia, Emirates Airlines.

A press conference and lunch was held at Indigo Pearl Phuket.

Phuket will become the 15th route launch for the airline this year and the second in South East Asia after Ho Chi Minh City in June.

According to Mr. Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airlines, “We have been operating flights to Bangkok since 1990. We currently operate four daily flights between Dubai and Bangkok, including one with our ultra-modern Airbus A380 aircraft. We are confident that Phuket will prove a popular destination for our passengers, especially those from the UAE, Middle East and Europe.”

Emirates Holidays, the airline’s tour operating arm, offers tailor-made holidays to Phuket, that include a hand-picked selection of five, four and three-star hotels. Its annual brochure, A World of Choice, highlights many of Phuket’s attractions from lush vistas and the turquoise waters of its sandy western shoreline, to cultural landmarks such as Chalong Temple and old Phuket Town.

Often dubbed as the Pearl of the Andaman, Phuket has become Thailand’s second most important direct-access gateway with a total of 56,673 domestic and international flights in 2011. In 2011, the island attracted over 9 million domestic and international visitors, generating 188 billion baht in tourism income.

In January – November 2012, Middle East visitor arrivals to Thailand totaled 563,743, up 0.30% over the same period of 2011. Of these, 103,906 were UAE visitors, Kuwait (61,884), Egypt (18,196) and Saudi Arabia (16,396).

News TAT