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Phuket in a Covid Crisis – VIDEO

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Phuket in a Covid Crisis – VIDEO | Thaiger

Phuket is facing an existential crisis. Because of its semi-isolation as an island, it doesn’t get much “passing traffic” and is too far away from Bangkok to attract much ‘weekend’ business. Whilst the borders stay closed the island’s businesses face ruin.

A year ago, the streets of this tourist island were brimming with a diverse international tourism mix. In fact the island had become one of the most popular tropical island destinations in the world, catering for both the high end, the back-packers and just about everything in between.

But nearly 9 months into a global coronavirus pandemic, things are now very, very different.

Since Thailand’s borders were closed, Thailand’s tourist magnets, including the southern island of Phuket, have faced the prospect of at least a short to medium term future without any means to run their businesses. Each of these shops is an individual, maybe a family, friends, employees, a landlord… all suddenly cut off from an income. Their sin, choosing to run a business, and pay hefty rents for the pleasure, in areas where tourists wanted to visit.

In the case of Phuket, which previously attracted 8-10 million international visitors a year, its cash lifeline, probably more than 90% of its economy, has been cut off.

The provincial government has done little, can do little, to help. The Thai government has had a round of cash handouts for people losing their job, but, in many cases, these have either been negligible and in some cases, never turned up. Either way, none of the government’s stimulus has been able to do much to help the island find a new pathway to re-open all these businesses.

As for Phuket’s 2,000 or so hotels and guesthouses, most of them still have their doors locked, some even completely vacated without even maintenance staff. The prospect of their survival, on domestic tourism alone, is impossible – Phuket, just too far away from the country’s population centres to get any passing or weekend traffic.

The island’s east coast, where many of the Thai’s live and the established families have their businesses, have burst back to life following the lifting of lockdown provisions in May and June this year. But a drive through the west coast towns looks more like the set of a dystopian Hollywood set, bereft of tourists, locals, and empty streets lined with row after row of shuttered shops.

This isn’t an exaggeration, this is how it is, and has been for months with little hope of the situation improving any time soon.

The businesspeople here followed the government’s demands to close up shop and lockdown for 6 week in March and April. A 6 week interruption to their businesses would be bad enough. But, here we are, 6 months later and the situation remains bleak.

In fact most of the owners and employees of these businesses have stripped their shops, left the island and headed back to their homes.

For the locals, who call Phuket home, they’ve had to find a new life, a new job and make a new start, often helped along by the kindness of strangers and the island’s expat community.

Thailand’s travel and hospitality industries, and they ARE industries, especially on an island like Phuket, are now in a perpetual limbo. Whilst everyone is happy to see a development like the Special Tourist Visa, it is not even a remotely sustainable model for Thailand’s tourism industry beyond the immediate short-term and will do little get these shops open again.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Tragic, but out you go at midnight and fish! Forage in the jungle, and grow vegetables in window boxes. pawn your smart phones, sell your motor bikes – walk. Good exercise.
    You strangled the golden geese when they were there. Then you would not let the golden geese leave!
    Finally when they could, there were traffic jams trying to get out.
    Now the government will not let the golden geese back in and the golden geese have affectively been killed.
    You maintained a rip off system in Phuket that made it the most expensive place for foreigners to have a vacation. You were all in on it, the police, politicians, and anyone on the public payroll.
    Fish. Farm or starve. You had it coming . . .

    • Avatar

      John

      Monday, October 5, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      You are exactly right, don’t think they will get much sympathy from the foreign community.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    … and so the option is …..?

  3. Avatar

    chris

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Thai government needs come up with better and more realstic options than this useless STV

  4. Avatar

    John

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    It is not only the poor businesses that have been gouging tourists for years. The tourists have been affected by this too. Seems that Khama has a funny way of balancing the scales.

  5. Avatar

    Somchai

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    120 Chinese brothers already on the way for support Phuket
    Don’t worry they have more money then million zerro bath western tourists.
    Thailand will much more happy with Chinese tourist then with western trash
    Look at Sihanoukville now is nice and big city when Chinese come

    • Avatar

      Keith

      Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 6:13 am

      Just hope they don’t bring covid 19, they caused this pandemic, these so called tourists are just Chinese businessmen looking to buy businesses at knockdown prices so when the low end Chinese return all the money hey spend goes back to China, Thais will benefit very little from this

    • Avatar

      Nipral

      Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      utterly moronic comment from an ill-educated idiot. Probably member of this brainless government !

  6. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    The first two lines in my post!!!!!

    • Avatar

      Avenger

      Monday, October 5, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      Somchai you’re a peasant imbecile.
      Don’t forget whose disgusting hygiene caused this pandemic.

    • Avatar

      Paul

      Friday, October 9, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Somchai…. Maybe you have caught another form of Covid from your “Chinese brothers” we don’t know about. You are clearly delusional and have no concept of the effect the Chinese are having on South East Asia. In particular the Thai locals benefit very little from these Chinese as they support firstly Chinese businesses…. Even your naivety is no excuse for what you suggest about Western guests.

  7. Avatar

    Terrence

    Monday, October 5, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    It does look grim on the west coast. In fairness, the high season was looking pretty bleak back in December. The trend over the past few years has been towards Russian and Chinese tourism and that’s not favorable to small independent businesses geared around bars, restaurants, adventure or cultural activity. Overall the whole place is seedy, corrupt and entitled, and Karma is a bitch.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded

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Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: VIP clubs and their wealthy customers may have violated rules and led to Covid-19 outbreaks

Investigations are being demanded by a corruption watchdog into Thai politicians infected with Covid-19 after allegedly attending venues in the Thong Lor entertainment venues in Bangkok that have now emerged as the ground zero for the Coronavirus third wave in the Kingdom.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand are being asked to investigate the latest Covid-19 outbreak, noting in a Facebook post that the second wave was also linked to illegal activities, spreading through illegal migrants and other visiting gambling dens. This third wave is also angering those who see the wealthy elite and powerful politicians frequenting high-end bars and not following Covid-19 safety protocols.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of ACT argues that the ministers visiting these clubs did not behave “ethically”, and it’s part of a larger problem. He is pushing for legal action against not only club owners, but against police, public health officials, and even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for failing to enforce laws to protect against Covid-19.

Investigations into whether the code of ethics had been violated were requested to be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman and the committee on ethical standards.

As entertainment venues have been ordered closed for at least 2 weeks, Mana proposes that along with restrictions, a hotline to report rule-breakers should be set up, and all people should be held to the same standard without exception.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society agreed, saying that especially important is the need for Covid-19 infected public officials to disclose their personal timelines to reassure the public and assist in contract tracing. It is feared that little or no action will be taken to investigate and punish powerful rulebreakers.

One controversial infection was that of Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, rumoured to be infected from Thong Lor nightclubs, but later shown to be in another province at the time. The entertainment venue outbreak was not completely innocent though, as details emerged that the minister’s infection was in fact passed to him via an aide who had frequented clubs in Thong Lor.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour owner turned activist, has been outspoken on the issue, calling for investigations into high-society VIP clubs like Krystal Club and Emerald Club, who allegedly flaunted restrictions and ended up with dozens of Covid-19 infected staff members.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau chief had said that legal action was pending against these clubs for the virus spreading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday

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Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thais start their Songkran travel - Pinoy Thaiyo

Thailand’s CCSA have announced 967 new Covid-19 infections today during their daily briefings. The number is another day of gradual increases that has grown. Thailand’s national total has now reached 32,625 total infections, of which 28,214 people have fully recovered. 4,314 people are currently under hospital supervision in Thailand following positive Covid tests.

9 new cases were revealed in Phuket today, but aren’t included in today’s national tally.

The CCSA also reported that 485,957 people have now received their first vaccine – 69,439 are now fully vaccinated. The daily average of new people being vaccinated over the past month has grown from around 10,000 people each day to 15,556 yesterday.

Around the world, both the daily infection rates and death rates from Covid-19 are increasing again after dipping at the start of 2021.

All the latest news from Thailand related to Covid-19 HERE.

Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | News by Thaiger

Total cases for Thailand from Worldometers.info…

Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | News by ThaigerWorld totals as of Sunday, April 11 from Worldometers.info

Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | News by ThaigerThailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | News by Thaiger

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Pattaya police warn restaurants not to act like bars

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Pattaya police warn restaurants not to act like bars | Thaiger
PHOTO: Police warn selling chips at your bar doesn't make you a restaurant

Following the closure of entertainment venues in 41 provinces for 2 weeks, Pattaya police warn that bars acting as restaurants and restaurants acting as bars would be punished. In Pattaya, police patrolled heavily to check in on venues and remind them of the penalties and fines for breaking shut-down rules. The current outbreak of Covid-19 throughout Thailand has been disproportionately spread by nightclubs and bars, including many pubs in Chon Buri and Bangkok. While the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has called for a 2-week closure, the Chon Buri edict is open-dated, expected to be in effect until conditions improve. One warning Pattaya police stressed was that, while restaurants are allowed to stay open and sell alcohol, abusing that exception will be punished.

In previous entertainment venue shutdowns during the pandemic, many businesses took advantage of the restaurant loophole. As there’s no exact wording in the law saying people have to order food and not only drinks, many restaurants served drinks and allowed dancing and socializing without any social distancing. Some bars were even seen hastily adding a quick food menu of easy snacks in an attempt to skirt the rules and operate as a restaurant serving alcohol. But this time Pattaya police warn that restaurants using these sneaky tricks won’t be tolerated. Even businesses with multi licenses will need to take measures to make it clear they are not operating more like a bar as police will have the discretion to make judgement calls on venues.

The 2-week closure of entertainment venues went into effect yesterday and banquet halls, movie theatres, saunas and soapies are all closed. Restaurants are allowed to stay open, but with a 10 pm curfew on dine-in services. Takeaway food is allowed after 10 pm until 5 in the morning. Officials hope this shutdown on Covid-19 spreading entertainment venues will slow the outbreak enough to avoid the dreaded full lockdowns, travel restrictions, and domestic quarantines.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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