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Phuket’s media shuffles – the news leaders

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s media shuffles – the news leaders | The Thaiger

Phuket’s media is going through a minor revolution. A lot of work is going into spreading local news for an island of some 450,000 locals and 12 million annual tourists (who are unlikely to read any local news media anyway).

Roll back 20 years and the local leader in the media was the Phuket Gazette which lasted as an English-speaking newspaper for 23 years, in the days when there were plenty of English-speaking readers living on the island. It ceased publication in May 2017 (The Thaiger bought Phuket Gazette’s digital assets in July 2017).

As we enter the middle of 2019 the island’s media is almost completely unrecognisable.

Most people, the vast majority, learn about what’s happening around Phuket on social media now – when we say most we mean over 90%. Facebook is now leading the way in Thailand and Phuket as a key news source. It’s NOW, it’s mostly free, easy to access and just about every Thai, and foreigner, carries it around in their pocket.

Media is measured by ‘reach’ – eyeballs on stories. A more recent term for that is ‘engagement’ – people who click on or comment on a story. The numbers for Phuket’s media speak for themselves, they’re public and are easily checked on the internet (go to your ‘Insights’ page on Facebook and add any pages you want to compare). News websites are taking a second place now to social media on the island as a source of news. These figures are from the past seven days for Facebook engagement…

Phuket’s media shuffles - the news leaders | News by The Thaiger

The reach-leaders, Newshawk Phuket and Phuket People’s Voice, are also starting to add English versions of their Thai news posts which will further eat into the traffic of older island news businesses. But their leadership in readers is no surprise when most of the island’s readers are Thai.

For website news there is also a good range of news sites – the two Phuket-based leaders are a long way in front of the others for monthly traffic.

Phuket’s media shuffles - the news leaders | News by The Thaiger

In April thethaiger.com reached 1.56 million users versus 463,000 for the island’s second most popular news website

(similarweb.com stats are usually out by 10-20% but reflect trends and general traffic reliably. If you want to check any website’s traffic just type in the web address. It only measures sites with more than 12,000 visits a month)

Of course there are still other news sources, principally the venerable The Phuket News which keeps pumping out 32 pages of recent news, stories and local ads every Friday – a remarkable achievement by any standard where weekly ‘newspapers’ are becoming a rare luxury in the modern media landscape.

Other social media portals like Instagram and Line also have their share of ‘news’ but it’s tiny in comparison to Facebook in Thailand where the platforms are more about messaging and sharing photos. There is also a handful of radio and video news media on the island but their reach is extremely limited and the numbers not applicable in the wider picture.

When it comes to ‘reach’ and ‘targeting’ there is nothing that comes even close to online media, and the gap widens every month. Well, every week! That an advertiser can target their audience by age, location, interest, search-history and buying habits is astonishingly powerful. And it costs a fraction of what advertisers used to spend on ‘traditional’ media.

More importantly, Phuket’s online media is completely measurable. For advertisers this means that they can measure the true performance and value of their ads.

Bottomline, Phuket’s media landscape has matured remarkably in the past decade and more so in just the last 6 months. And it will continue to evolve. For Phuket readers, in Thai and English, the latest competition means new choices and news voices.

Next week we’ll check out the leaders in the wider Thai media landscape where there’s also been a lot of recent changes.

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Crime

Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest meth dealer, discover drugs valued at 15 million baht | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Newshawk Phuket

Drugs valued at 15 million baht have been seized in a drug crackdown in Phuket. On October 22, Phuket police, along with Phuket Governor Pakkapong Tawipat, reported to the media about a drug crackdown that ended up with a total seizure valued around 15 million baht.

Earlier, the police received a report from an undercover agent that a woman named ‘Ying’ or ‘Suthicha Thirawut’ was a local drug dealer trading drugs in Phuket area, so police planned to purchase drugs from the woman. They contacted Ying through another woman named ‘Noina’, Ying’s close friend. Around 10pm on October 20, police bought 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine from Noina before arresting Ying and another man, Thanet Thongtan, at the Naka Condominium.

The two confessed that they receive the drug from a man who they weren’t able to name, in order to sell in Phuket. They were paid 40,000 – 50,000 baht per time and admitted to police that they have done this for the man three times already. This time, the drugs hadn’t been sold to customers as they were arrested before being able to make a sale.

Apart from 2.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, valued around 4.8 million baht, the police also discovered 76,800 methamphetamine pills, worth around 11 million baht.

The three are now assisting Phuket police with their enquires related to the case.

SOURCE: Newshawk Phuket

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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