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Readers react to “Phuket Destruction” letter to editor

Thaiger

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Readers react to “Phuket Destruction” letter to editor | Thaiger
PHOTO: Visions of Patong that will haunt locals for years - Dive Magazine

Have a read then vote at the bottom of the article.

“We are just back from last week’s trip to Phuket and I could not have imagined the destruction going on. Boarded up shops and restaurants, interiors torn out, even hard to find a place to have a dinner. Eerie streets that you felt uncomfortable walking at night time and I a not talking about the small sois, but main beach streets.

The contrast is striking with Hua Hin, where you have weekenders from Bangkok and a large retired expat community to support the community.

Attracting long-staying retirees should obviously be part of the solution but the focus seems to be on elite cards and high-spending, short-term tourists that will disappear once the next catastrophe arrives. Alongside Thailand’s excellent hospitals and with the right policies it should not be too hard to promote Thailand as a retirement destination.”

Readers react to

This letter to the Editor in the Bangkok Post from “Dr Hannson” has triggered off a robust response amongst expats and external commentary from people that want to return to Thailand.

We assume that Dr Hannson was speaking of Patong in Phuket (although his comments could equally apply to other west coast tourist towns – Kata, Karon, Kamala, Surin). It also needs to be said that Phuket also has a large contingent of expats living there although Patong is not their primary ‘hang out’ and tend to be spread around the island.

Still, the fact remains, Phuket has been gutted by the loss of tourists as a result of the government’s lockdowns and ban on foreign tourists. As the writer correctly notes, Hua Hin (and Pattaya and some of the ‘spots’ closer to Bangkok) have fared better due to their proximity to the capital and can be reached easily in a car. Phuket requires more expensive flights and has not benefitted from the promotion of domestic tourism.

As a place to retire, Phuket has already been a popular choice but, as Dr Hannson says, the government could make it a lot easier for people to retire in Thailand, and the island, so Phuket’s economy could better survive future exogenous events like this that cut off the tourist dollars.

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How can the Thai government help Phuket right now?

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Yes I believe he really is a Doctor. He used the word exogenous. I had to look it up.
    Anyway, Dr Handsome gives a clear account of Phuket’s decline.
    If I had a chance to vote in the survey above, I would have voted let the island suffer.
    Tourist were already shunning the rip off, overpricing, and bad deals of Phuket. July 2019, visitors were down 20 to 30 percent.
    Some people might love it, but some people love running out of a sauna and rolling in snow.

    lol

  2. Avatar

    gary

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Ok for Thaiger to run this but will it get to government ears in Bangkok? There are many retirees in Phuket, lots of golfers, most owning properties, who support the local community all year round not just a few weeks escaping northern winters most years.
    Some easing of paperwork and recognition at airport immigration counters would help.

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Are gov officials waiting for a vaccine? The Oct 1 pilot project will be no better than the “Domestic Only” tourist experiment in Jul.

    Also, these are desperate times and foreigners might be hesitant going to a ghost town where they could be victimized or the number of people forced to beg is 4x the amount they’d normally see.

    • Avatar

      Gabby

      Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      Yes, that is definitely something to worry about. I’m not sure tourists will be safe in that environment.

  4. Avatar

    Joe

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    The authorities in Phuket need to urgently do something about some of the police rip offs in certain areas, they are getting worse all the time. There is even a page on Facebook called ‘bear’on which you can find out about the latest police scams and where they are.The police will stop and fine anyone for just about any reason, like even when your foot is not on your moped pointing the right way.And it doesn’ t matter if you have totally valid international drivers license, you will get fined, you must have Thai one, something someone on a tourist visa can’t get with the result being that people are getting stopped on a daily basis and paying 1000 baht fines. It’s making people very angry and negative towards Thailand.

  5. Avatar

    James

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Hahaaaa. Poo ket is a shit place to go. The ripoffs are ubiquitous and most places catering to tourists are far overpriced. Let those assholes who rip off tourists suffer and go broke. I’ll take Samui or Phangan any day over Poo ket.

  6. Avatar

    bobby m

    Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    No vote I am afraid,.

    Because there are no choices for opening all the boarders and getting on with life.

  7. Avatar

    Bill H

    Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 7:43 am

    I worked in Thailand for 12 years ( I have worked/ lived in four other countries during my career.) When I reached age 65 years I decided to make Thailand my place of retirement. Now that I no longer have the company’s expeditor to do the immigration requirements, I find the 90 day reporting a pain in the arse since I already have a retirement visa. The strong baht makes things more expensive than 16 years ago when I first arrived. And getting a credit card from your local Thai bank can be difficult ( fortunately I could get one when I had my work permit.) Yes, the government and businesses need to do more to make Thailand a more attractive place for retirement.

  8. Avatar

    JJ

    Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Let Phuket long term / long stay residents to arrive to their own properties with self quarantine option. Get needed medical services from local hospitals to their properties(temperature checks, covid tests, etc).

    Foreigners will follow self quarantine rules for sure and Government can enforce these with harsh penalties.

    Phuket long term resident return should be 1st phase. Normal tourist wont come with 14days quarantines with western european prison conditions..

  9. Avatar

    Terry

    Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Here is the thing people, do you think they bother listen to Farangs and work with them? Good luck!

  10. Avatar

    Terry W

    Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Here is the thing people. Do you really think they care about your opinion as they always seems to know best and don’t work very well with farangs to solve or improve things.

  11. Avatar

    J. Jones

    Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    update…Phuket town is actually open. Malls, Thai Clubs, Restaurants, Groceries. Just mask up… Actually, few people leave the mask in place, and somehow it all is working. Had a great time in Rawaii last night. The doctor mistakenly went to Patong, without looking around. Curious how they are keeping the infection rate close to zero! Seriously, most of the businesses are wearing the mask on their chins or half way on.

    • Avatar

      Peter

      Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      “Curious how they are keeping the infection rate close to zero!” No need to be curious, they are achieving near zero infections by keeping diseased foreigners locked out

  12. Avatar

    Patrick

    Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Let’s be honest – Thailand simply doesn’t know what to do, wants and desperately needs the tourist dollar and is too afraid to take even a small risk.

    Add to this the fact that they are conspiring, even know, to benefit Thai-owned insurance companies and hotel operators, the only airline likely to be able to fly tourists i and out of the Kingdom has a monopoly on one of the most badly affected destinations (Koh Samui) s actually going bankrupt. What an absolute shambles.

    Add to this an unelected government cobbles together from the remains of a military junta, civil unrest growing daily, the influence of a certain someone waining and crime going though the roof. Dangerous times for Thailand.

  13. Avatar

    John C.

    Monday, August 31, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    All the poll options are r3tarded. Where is the option for “just open up the country again and to hell with the hoaxvirus”.

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Expats

Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers

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Thailand looks at proposal to make it easier for expats and long-termers | Thaiger

Thailand is looking to make it easier for expats and long-term visa holders to stay in the country. The Immigration Bureau is hoping to boost investments and the economy once the pandemic is over. The proposed changes could do away with 90 day reporting requirements which have been well-received by expats.

Recently, the online website to report 90 day check-ins has been down, citing maintenance issues. Hotel staff have also been dealing with the TM-30 reporting system being down. Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities Thailand, told the Bangkok Post that immigration hoops are a key pain point for foreigners working in Thailand.

“We want to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Thailand.”

Meanwhile, plans to help Thailand recover economically have been detailed in a framework to be proposed to the government’s economic panel in the next month. Improvements to immigration regulations, work permits for foreign experts, and visa applications are on the framework list. Relaxing location reporting requirements for foreign workers which is done through the 90 day reporting, is also slated to be amended.

The framework also will include inducements for foreign investors such as corporate income-tax cuts, relaxed property-holding rules and incentives for retirees and start-up companies. An adviser to Thailand’s Deputy PM, says he aims to bring in 1 million retirees or pensioners over the next few years. He says expats could collectively contribute as much as 1.2 trillion baht to the economy each year. But Thailand’s gross domestic product growth won’t return to pre-Covid levels until the 3rd quarter of 2022, according to the Bank of Thailand.

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Expats

Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand

Tim Newton

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Proposals to get rid of 90 day reporting and ease investment rules in Thailand | Thaiger

In amongst a sea of bad new over the past week, a glimmer of hope for expats and long-stay travellers. You better sit down…

The Thai government are looking into changing the long standing 90 day reporting for people staying in Thailand longer than 90 days on a long-stay visa. But don’t get out the champagne just yet.

For the last few decades any foreigner staying in Thailand for more than 90 days had to report to Thai Immigration about their current whereabouts. Immigration officials added an online alternative a few years ago but its reliability has been patchy.

As far as The Thaiger can tell, the online reporting has been down for at least 3 months. (Comment below if you’ve had a different experience)

The Bangkok Post reports that the changes form part of a strategy “to boost investment and tourism revenue”.

For hotels that have had to report the arrival and location of any foreign arrivals, the equally unpopular TM30 form, the online posting of this information has also been equally patchy over the last few months (many hotels simply don’t bother – it’s up to YOU to insist they check you in with the Immigration system).

Though there has been no official announcement made at this stage, the desperation for visitors and tourist, that used to fuel up to 20% of Thailand’s annual GDP, is forcing all departments to look at relaxing earlier draconian or outdated paperwork in favour of encouraging more arrivals, during the Covid-era or or after.

Immigration officials have often cited the need to track transnational crime as the reason to maintain its strict, and often inconvenient, rules – 90 day reporting, TM30s and TM 28s.

But none of this has reached beyond proposal stage at the moment but, according to the head of a government taskforce investigating the proposals at the moment, there will never be a better time to bring Thailand’s immigration and investment rules into the 21st century.

Chayotid Kridakorn, a former head of JP Morgan Securities, in now leading a Thai government economic panel to recommend changes that will make it easier for investors and travellers to enter into, and stay, in Thailand, according to Bangkok Post.

Even on their most optimistic guesses, the Bank of Thailand says GDP is unlikely to return to pre-Civd levels until Q3, this year. Many pundits would say this is optimistic, indeed.

Other groups to fall between the immigration cracks, up to now, have included the digital nomads – people who want to work remotely, anywhere, anytime. Their creed is ‘have laptop and wifi – can work’. Most digital nomads have used various visas, and border hops, to keep living and working in Thailand. Under current rules, their work has been, strictly, illegal and a specific visa wold allow the Thai government to better control this huge resource and tax them more effectively.

Mr Chayotid says that Thailand doesn’t “want to be left behind and die with old technology”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines

Tim Newton

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Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines | Thaiger

“About 10,000 people are being vaccinated around Thailand, on average, with 14,000 people being vaccinated each day in Phuket.”

Private hospitals and institutions have been given the official go-ahead to purchase up to 10 million doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing. The major sticking point, despite the approval, however, continues to be the world supply shortage of vaccines, with demand far outstripping current supply.

The CCSA’s Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced that the Thai PM had approved the privatisation of vaccines but maintained that the roll out of free vaccines for Thais and people at risk would continue at full pace. The Thai government have been fending off accusations that it was blocking the acquisition of vaccines by private companies and hospitals. The 10 million doses approved for private purchases actually allows about 5 million vaccinated people with most of the approved vaccines needing 2 doses.

The spokesperson explained that the Thai government needs to have 40 million Thais vaccinated before they would be able to claim any scientific level of herd immunity. The public health minister said that around 10,000 people per day are being vaccinated around the country, on average. About 350,000 doses have arrived in Thailand and 1.5 million more doses are awaiting delivery for this month, according to the Thai PM.

The order allows the private sector to use a letter of approval from the Thai government to purchase its own supplies separately. Or, alternatively, to purchase directly from the government and resell to customers.

The government’s current order for vaccines is enough for around 35 million people with a local supplier, manufacturing the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine under license, from June this year.

Dr Taweesilp also urged private companies to target and purchase vaccines from manufacturers other than the vaccine companies the Thai government were already dealing with.

The following vaccines are currently approved in Thailand…

  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)
  • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)
  • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Single dose)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)

There are also current applications pending from other vaccine producers which will likely be approved in coming weeks.

Many expats have been chasing information about when they could expect to be vaccinated. Despite some promises from the government there has been little concrete information about formalities to register for vaccination at this stage. Meanwhile many expats have indicated they were prepared to pay for their vaccination but were unable to get clarification from private hospitals about when that may be available.

In Phuket the provincial government has promised ALL registered residents, local or foreign, that they would be eligible for government-funded vaccination. There has been a flurry of activity on the island over the past 2 weeks since the ‘Sandbox’ proposal was approved, in principal, for a July re-opening of quarantine-free tourism to vaccinated travellers. There has been queues and waiting lists at the island’s public hospitals every day for the past week. Currently some 14,000 people are being vaccinated every day, on average.

Meanwhile, the events of the past few days – the closure of entertainment venues and bars in 41 provinces, including all the main tourist areas – will force the government to re-consider any scheduled plans to re-open borders and reduction of quarantine times. Travellers are still allowed to visit Thailand, under new guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

What you currently need to enter Thailand…

  • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)
  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in your country
  • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000
  • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Anyone considering travelling to Thailand at this time is recommended to check with the Thai embassy in their country first, before making bookings of ASQ hotels or flights.

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