PHUKET: New airlines, new air routes and more charter flights should help to increase the number of tourists coming to Phuket next year by about 10%, Lt Cdr Boonchart Prompoon, Director of the Airports Authority of Thailand, Phuket, said on Wednesday. He was speaking at the launch of an “All Smiles All the Time” campaign at Phuket International Airport, a promotion aimed at persuading tourists to return because of their friendly experience on the island and throughout Thailand generally. “The airport is the place where tourists arrive so we have to improve our services to impress them,” Lt Cdr Boonchart said. “Our staff will welcome passengers when they arrive at the airport, and it will be the beginning of this scheme.” He said the present number of 3.6 million passengers was likely to increase by at least 300,000 next year. “It’s possible to reach that number because there will be new airlines, including Orient Thai Airlines and AirAsia,” he added. There had also been about 30 chartered flights already this month, he said, as well as new routes being flown to Kuala Lumpur and Sweden.