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Koh Samui

Direct Russian flights into Surat Thani start with uptick for Samui, Koh Tao & Ko-Phangan

Bill Barnett

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Direct Russian flights into Surat Thani start with uptick for Samui, Koh Tao & Ko-Phangan | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: The Flight Reviews

A new series of flights between Russia and Surat Thani International Airport kicked off on December 27 with the charter Nordwind Airlines.

Russian tourists will be able to fly direct into the region, avoiding the monopoly at Koh Samui airport. They can then transfer to Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Ko-Phangan from the Surat Thani International Airport in Phunphin District via land transport and ferry. The airport is 21 kilometres west of Surat Thani city.

The seasonal flight schedule will continue up to late April and is expected to inject much-needed tourism numbers into the Gulf of Thailand islands.

Flights will be originating out of Moscow, Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk.

Currently Bangkok Airways command a monopoly for flights into Koh Samui at prices way above fares for similar routes of the same length around the region. Analysts have blamed the monopoly and high cost of travel to Samui for the island’s malaise in recent years.

SOURCE: c9hotelworks.com

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Koh Samui. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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Crime

Thai police dis criticism of their Koh Tao Murder investigation

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai police dis criticism of their Koh Tao Murder investigation | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

Thai police have publicly hit back at foreign media allegations that their forensics investigation into the highly-publicised 2014 murder case on Koh Tao did not meet international standards.

The publicity about their allegedly botched investigation began in 2014 with the brutal murder of two British tourists, David Miller and Hannah Witheridge, on Koh Tao island off Surat Thani. Two Burmese men, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun, were arrested over the crime.

Police spokesman Piya Uthayo referred to an online article posted by Fairfax media featuring statements made by Jane Taupin, an Australian forensics expert. The article, written by Lindsay Murdoch, questioned the standards and processes used to use DNA evidence in the murder case convictions.

Melbourne-based Jane Taupin says documents detailing how Thai investigators matched DNA from Myanmar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun to the victims were not provided to a Thai court, in contravention of international DNA analysis and reporting standards.

Taupin visited Thailand in 2016 as a science witness for the defence case. Despite not being invited to join the police investigation, she accused the police’s forensic science laboratory of being “untrustworthy”.

Ms Taupin, an independent consultant who has examined DNA evidence for police agencies in Australia and the UK and has received several forensic science awards, travelled to Thailand expecting to testify in the case in July but she was not called to the stand.

But Piya says police produced DNA samples of the defendants in court, claiming they matched those collected at the crime scene. Based on this evidence, the court sentenced both young men to death. They remain in prison and are awaiting an answer on their application for a Royal Pardon.

Speculation has continued in the years following the investigation that ‘shady’ local Koh Tao residents had been involved but never prosecuted and that the two young Burmese men were ‘patsies’ in the case.

Piya said Royal Thai Police Forensics works under the same international standards as the FBI and performs its forensic work extremely scrupulously. The officers who performed the forensic probe appeared as witnesses, giving detailed explanations and addressing inquiries and objections raised by the defendants’ lawyer.

The two Burmese suspects initially confessed to the crime but later retracted the confession, saying they were forced to confess under torture. They maintained this story during the court case.

Last August, the Thai Supreme Court upheld the death sentences for the two Burmese men.

In September this year, the Thai Bar Council reported that the death sentences could be stayed if the Burmese government sent a formal letter of request for a royal pardon.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

Thai police dis criticism of their Koh Tao Murder investigation | News by The ThaigerThai police dis criticism of their Koh Tao Murder investigation | News by The Thaiger

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Koh Samui

Mono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui’s tourism success

Bill Barnett

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Mono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui’s tourism success | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Koh Samui Sunset

Bill Barnett and c9hotelworks.com analyse the current hotel and tourism challenges on Koh Samui. Bill says that in the past year the Gulf island has been shaken by declining demand and reduced airlift to the island. (graphics below)

“The China slowdown is widely cited as a key factor, together with high airfares. According to Bangkok Airways, half of the company revenue is generated by flight routes connecting with Samui.”

Meanwhile Bangkok Airways has reported a loss in the first half of this year followed by a strategy to cut costs with reduced frequencies for domestic flights. In addition, it has suspended direct flights from Guangzhou, China, and decreased frequencies for flights from Chongqing and Chengdu by 50%.

According to the latest available statistics, airport passenger arrivals to Samui had a marginal growth last year as flight arrivals declined by 3% year on year during the same period. c9hotelworks.com anticipate the downward trend will continue in 2019 as a result of reduced flight connections. Much of the island’s tourism future is linked directly to how Bangkok Airways will address shifting market profiles.

• Market-wide RevPAR decreased by 19% as up to July 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 as a result of a drop in both ADR and occupancy.

Revenue per available room (RevPAR) is a performance metric used in the hotel industry. It is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate (ADR) by its occupancy rate. It may also be calculated by dividing a hotel’s total room revenue by the total number of available rooms in the period being measured.

• Europe continues to be the dominant core source market, representing 46% of the total guest arrivals at accommodation establishments for all of last year.

• Total tourism revenue hit 64 billion baht in 2018, representing a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

Looking ahead…

• Upcoming hotel pipeline is mainly in upper- midscale to upper-upscale tiers, accounting for 80% of the future pipeline with all properties having an international brand affiliation.

• Bangkok Airways has budgeted 692 million Thai baht for the renovation and upgrading of Samui International Airport, with the plan now undergoing an environmental approval process.

• Aside from traditional hotels, alternative accommodation choices of private villa rentals is intensifying accommodation competition.

Mono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui's tourism success | News by The ThaigerMono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui's tourism success | News by The ThaigerMono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui's tourism success | News by The ThaigerMono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui's tourism success | News by The ThaigerMono airlift remains key barrier to Koh Samui's tourism success | News by The Thaiger

Read the full report HERE.

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Koh Samui

Surat Thani fisherman missing after falling off boat last night

The Thaiger

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Surat Thani fisherman missing after falling off boat last night | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO: Khaosod English

Police and rescue crews are still searching for a fisherman missing since last night.

Today’s search off Koh Samui involves ships and aircraft of the 2nd Naval Area. The search was launched as soon as police were alerted about a fishing boat crew member who fell into the sea off the island late last night.

At this stage it is understood that around 10.20pm 35 year old Supinyo Chanprasong went to the stern of the fishing boat of the vessel and was not seen again. The fishing boat, Sor Choksappaisal, was near the the Ang Thong archipelago at the time, north west of Koh Samui.

Other crew told police that the conditions were calm but Supinyo wasn’t wearing a life jacket. He is a resident of nearby Don Sak on the mainland. Supinyo was one of five crewmen on the fishing boat.

Surat Thani Governor Wichwut Jinto ordered officials of the Samui marine police to urgently coordinate with the local Naval Area command and contact fishing boats in the area to help with the search.

The commander of the 2nd Naval Area ordered naval vessels and aircraft to join the search.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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