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Air Asia boost for Pattaya

Air Asia’s launch of three new air routes from U-Tapao Airport could not have come at a better time for the Pattaya property industry just 40 kilometers away.

The low-cost airline will be introducing flights to Macau, Singapore and Udon Thani following the success of the U-Tapao – Nanning and U-Tapao – Nanchang routes. The airline is promoting U-Tapao as a fully-fledged flight base and is aiming to attract Chinese and Singaporean travelers to the Kingdom’s east, as well as presenting new travel options to the Thai people.

Tassapon Bijleveld, Chief Executive Officer of Thai AirAsia, said the airline is ready to launch new routes from U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, the airline’s fifth flight base. Its three newest routes will see daily direct flights to Macau, Singapore and Udon Thani. He also confirmed Thai AirAsia’s belief in U-Tapao as a commercial flight base, ready to handle the east’s growing tourism sector.

“The reason we are continuously launching new routes from U-Tapao Airport this year end is because we see its potential and the opportunity to draw travel and investment to the eastern region, whether it is to the popular entertainment destination, Pattaya or to Rayong’s industrial centre,” he said.

“We especially want to allow Chinese and foreign travelers to conveniently access the eastern region while affording residents of the area new exciting ways to travel with AirAsia.”

To celebrate the launch of the three new routes, AirAsia is now offering promotional fares from U-Tapao to Singapore and Macau for travel from the start of service on November 27. The U-Tapao – Udon Thani route will be available soon.

The inaugural Nanning – U-Tapao and Nanchang – U-Tapao flights were very well received by Chinese travelers, with load factors of between 70 percent and 75 percent and continual bookings.

To offer convenience for passengers connecting to other destinations, AirAsia also offers transfer services that take passengers from U-Tapao to destinations including Koh Samet, Pattaya City (Central Festival) and Rayong – and plans to offer transfers to Koh Lan soon.

“By the end of 2015, AirAsia will have stationed two Airbus A320 planes at U-Tapao Airport, which we believe will grow quickly as a flight base with a steady stream of new routes and travelers making their way to the eastern region,” Tassaporn said.

Pattaya real estate agents and property developers will have no excuses to promote these new services to potential overseas property buyers and investors who will be extremely keen to cut out the increasingly congested Don Mueng and Suvarnabhumi airports when travelling to Pattaya.

Chinese still intent on Thailand

The intention of Chinese citizens to buy property in Thailand has grown by more than 55 percent with developers and agencies warned to expect more inquiries from the country before the end of the year.

Simon Henry, the co-Chief Executive Officer of the largest Chinese overseas property website Juwai.com, said: “The Juwai.com Thailand Residential Purchasing Intent Index for September 2015 was up 55.7 percent over the prior year. This reflects strong growth of Chinese interest in Thai residential properties during the past 12 months.

“The Juwai.com Thailand Residential Purchasing Intent Index was down 5.4 percent from August which is well within the range of normal monthly variations. Our forecast remains bright for Chinese investment in Thailand over the next two years.”

Henry added that Thailand is now the third-most visited destination for mainland Chinese tourists, and tourism is one of the big drivers of property purchasing.

“From our past experiences we expect to see a jump in inquiries later this month and next month, as tourists return to China and search for property in the destinations they visited and fell in love with.”

He noted that Airports of Thailand reported that during Golden Week at the end of last month, Greater China tourist visits to the kingdom were up 30 percent over the same time a year ago.

“That bodes well for property sellers,” he concluded, referring to the proven link between tourist visits and subsequent property investments globally.