By Phuket Gazette
There are now four direct flights per week from Istanbul.
“This new Istanbul-Phuket service is part of the collaboration between the TAT and Turkish Airlines to meet the growing demand for travel to Thailand from holiday-makers from Turkey, Europe and Latin America. In addition, 2018 marks 60 years of Thai-Turkish relations, and the TAT is planning to organize cultural and tourism activities in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Thailand,” said Pataraporn Sithivanich, the TAT's Executive Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Turkish Airlines inaugurated its Istanbul-Phuket route on July 17 with the first flight carrying 210 passengers, including 20 members of the media from Turkey.
The airlines plans to increase the frequency of the Istanbul-Phuket route from four times per week to a daily flight for the upcoming high season, to cater to the higher demand for Thailand. Phuket is Turkish Airlines’ 300th destination. The airline began a direct Istanbul-Bangkok service in 1989 and now operates 14 flights per week.
“Since 2012, Turkish nationals entering Thailand have been able to apply for a visa on arrival and this has led to many more people discovering ‘Amazing Thailand’. We know these new direct Istanbul-Phuket flights will ensure that more visitors enjoy the delights and 'unique culture' of the southern region of Thailand,” said Ms Pataraporn.
Turkey is one of Thailand’s important emerging tourist markets. In 2016, Thailand welcomed 74,568 visitors from Turkey, representing an increase of 18 per cent over 2015. This year, from January-May, there were 35,605 Turkish travellers into Thailand, up 2.7 per cent year-on-year.
The majority of Turkish travellers visit Thailand for a holiday, especially during the November-January high season.
Top Thai destinations among Turkish tourists are beaches and islands such as Phuket and Pattaya.