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Holiday plans cancelled at border district, Koh Samui expects tourist boom

Caitlin Ashworth

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Holiday plans cancelled at border district, Koh Samui expects tourist boom | Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People are cancelling their trips to a Kanchanaburi district for the 4-day weekend after a coronavirus scare at a local school. Koh Samui is expecting the opposite. The southern province Surat Thani is expecting such a large influx in tourists that some airlines and ferries have doubled their services for the holiday.

In Thong Pha Phum, Kanchanaburi’s border district, the mayor says most of the hotel reservations have been cancelled, saying many people started changing their holiday plans after a school in the district had a coronavirus scare.

The district’s Ban Kai Yae School closed after 3 students came in contact with Burmese migrants who developed a fever after they crossed the border into Thailand. The school was cleaned and will open again next week. The recent spike in coronavirus cases in Myanmar has caused many in districts bordering the country to be concerned. Most of the cases are in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, on the country’s western coast.

Other districts in Kanchanburi are still expecting tourists. The Three Pagodas Pass at the Myanmar border is open to visitors. One resort manager in the neighboring district Sangkha Buri said no one had cancelled their booking for the weekend.

It looks like many people are going south. The Surat Thani province, which includes the popular islands Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, is expected to have 27,000 visitors this weekend, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The tourists are expected to spend around 124 million baht during the holiday, with a large portion spent on accommodation, according to TAT’s office director Nanthawan Siriphokhapat.

“The We Travel Together campaign of the government that includes discounts on hotel accommodation and air tickets to Koh Samui are a factor encouraging travel.”

Both Bangkok Airways and local ferry operators have doubled their services for the holiday weekend, according to the president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Chris johansen

    Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Where are all these people coming from? cant be tourist, no one is going to spend 2k U.S. in quarantine. someone is smoking some good stuff.

    • Avatar

      Ron

      Friday, September 4, 2020 at 9:07 am

      Local tourist.

  2. Avatar

    albertone

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 9:46 am

    the boom of a children’s firecracker against the atomic bomb of a normal September of the past

  3. Avatar

    Tobias Krantz

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    There has been a huge influx of Chinese into the country recently. Do you think the Chinese have to jump through the same hoops as the foreign tourist? I am sure not.

    • Avatar

      Anh Lam

      Friday, September 4, 2020 at 6:14 pm

      Again WTF are chinese tourist doing in tbailand when the borders had been closed for EVERYONE! Something stinks here…

  4. Avatar

    lou

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    I have a 4* resort in Samui, what means flood of Thai tourists for the holidays even at 1/3rd to half cost tarifs ? hardly few seen, got 2 booked rooms instead of 0, better than nothing ?? !!!!! Unfair to dispatch such wrong news, we are all strangled !!!! Many of us will disappear soon totally ruined, staff included, Samui will not survive if not reopening before end December ….Chaweng, Lamai are already ghosts towns.. that will remain for years before finding new entrepreneurs to reopen and bring some kind of past life here !!!

  5. Avatar

    David Green

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    My GF is in Hua Hin. She sent me a photo of herself at the beach – she’s the only person on the entire beach.

    Where is the domestic tourism surge that was expected this weekend?

  6. Avatar

    Anh Lam

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Wooooup a second, are these international or domestic tourists? I thought thai borders are closed to international tourists. Someone is not speaking facts but fiction is more lije it…

    • Avatar

      Jilted John

      Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      This weekend is a National Holiday so it’s referring to Thai tourists

  7. Avatar

    Benny Larsson

    Friday, September 4, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    tricky and fixative inflated information mixed with beautifully romanticized dreams of tourist invasion. What a joke that they do not realize that it is fishing that applies for some time to come, Cheers from Europe

  8. Avatar

    lootarzoon

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Sorry as hotelier in Samui I confirm no boum at all, just a tiny cracker may be, if y wanted to write boum-boum, I was not able to check that.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Thailand fruit exports up, despite new Covid-19 fears

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Thailand fruit exports up, despite new Covid-19 fears | Thaiger
PHOTO: Durians driving Thailand's climbing export numbers.

Thailand fruit exporters saw a 107% growth in January and February over last year’s comparable figures, reports the National News Bureau. 18 countries have free trade agreements for fruit with Thailand, and the total trade in the first 2 months of 2021 is valued at US $461 million. Thailand is actively exporting fresh fruit with its top buyers being Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The most popular fruits are the national delicacy of durian, along with mango, mangosteen and longan.

On the other hand, some Thai durian farmers are anxious about the effect of the current third wave of Covid-19 in Thailand and how it could hamper their lucrative Chinese exporting. Earlier in 2021 health authorities in China circulated a press release stating that imported cherries from Chile had been tested and found to have Covid-19 contamination. This statement prompted a huge drop in Chilean cherry prices. Thai growers are worried the same might happen to durian imports. As the seriousness of the Coronavirus in Thailand reaches new widespread levels, one instance of a durian container being linked to Covid-19 could spur a total ban on importing fruit from Thailand.

Durian has been a success story amidst global slumps. While general exports in 2020 recorded their lowest figures in 6 years, fresh durian exports were up 259% in January and February versus the same months in 2020. And exports to China, totalling 575,000 tonnes of durian, were up an astounding 497% comparing those same 2 month time periods.

Thailand is the 7th largest fruit exporter in the world, and this growth is indicative of a continued upward trend.

SOURCE: Fruitnet and Fresh Plaza

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Economy

Thai household debt expected to keep rising- Kasikorn Research

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Thai household debt expected to keep rising- Kasikorn Research | Thaiger

Despite rolling out Covid-19 vaccines, in which could see a faster return to pre-Covid times, Thailand’s household debt is expected to keep rising. Kasikorn Research analysts say it could, in fact, reach 89-91% by the end of the year.

In a recent survey, KResearch says 10.8% of respondents could be stuck in a financial crisis. Of those who may be stuck, they indicated a drop in income, an inability to reduce expenses, and a high debt service burden per month that is exceeding 50% of their monthly incomes. This group of survey respondents is also concerned that it may not be able to provide for its basic needs in the near future.

In the 3rd quarter of 2020 and the year end, the figures were lower, at 86.6%, and 89.2% respectively. The upward trend isn’t unique as loans have increased while the economy has slowed. Almost 20% of household debts now are receiving financial-aid measures from financial institutions. The Bank of Thailand says the end of 2020 say 2.79 trillion baht tied up in financial relief programmes, which is equivalent to the 20%.

Despite government handouts and stimulus measures, the third wave of the pandemic is expected to increase outstanding debt under financial-aid programmes through the end of this month, but analysts say they are likely to not be any higher than the 3rd quarter of 2020. The amount of borrowers who may need further assistance after the relief programmes end in June 2021, is expected to be high.

The Covid vaccination rollout may give more flexibility in ending lockdowns in Thailand, funneling future financial assistance to those who are in serious need. The rollout may signal a switch from the standardized measures that were previously in place for determining who qualifies for financial aid, to a more individualised debt handling policy by financial institutions.

When asked what types of assistance are needed, survey participants ranked liquidity support at the top, followed by job creation that could help them maintain a stable revenue stream. Extension of financial-aid measures ranked 3rd. The rankings, indeed, point towards respondents needing to stabilize their platform of revenue first, before needing financial help.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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Entertainment

Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws

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Sex toys popular in Thailand despite conservative laws | Thaiger
PHOTO: In Thailand, sex toys are very popular and very illegal.

While Thailand is a conservative country with conservative laws, the underground sex trade and sex toy economy is a thriving not-so-well-kept secret. Thailand is famous for its LGBTQ acceptance and red-light districts, but many don’t realise that most drugs, gambling, soliciting for prostitution, sex toys, and even vaping are against Thai law.

The customs department confiscated more than 4000 sex toys just last year, and owning or selling these toys carries a 60,000 baht fine or up to 3 years in jail. The strict laws are in place to align with the traditional Buddhist Thai society but seem very contrary to the underground sex industry Thailand is known for.

The need for sexual privacy rights and relaxed laws governing sex has been gaining popularity for years with the juxtaposition of strict laws and hedonism creating a very profitable black market. Bangkok’s red-light district is estimated to be worth US $6.4 billion, and in districts like Soi Cowboy, Nana, Patpong and Silom, sex trade and sex toys are sold openly even though it violates the law. The sex industry is thought to comprise up to 10% of Thailand’s gross domestic product. Then there’s Walking Street in Pattaya, Bangla Road in Phuket, etc, etc.

Still, Thailand is a Buddhist country with traditionally conservative values so laws are unlikely to change anytime soon. Even sex education in Thailand is geared towards the negative consequences of sex and not open to sexual rights or embracing sexuality, according to a UNICEF report in 2016. Those who oppose decriminalising sex toys and the sex industry believe that embracing it legally would lead to a rash of sex-related crimes.

Others argue that decriminalisation would be liberating and empower women by reducing the stigma of being sexually free. It would allow a modernized view on sexual well-being. It would also likely reduce teen pregnancy rates, by removing the negativity towards those who need or use contraceptive.

Nisarat Jongwisan has been fighting for the destigmatisation and legalisation of sex toys since 2018 when she appeared on a TV program speaking out against the Ministry of Culture. She now intends to use the Thai parliamentary mechanism for creating a petition and gathering 50,000 signatures, which would allow her to submit a bill to the parliament for a vote.

With strict laws, the black market will continue to grow. While sex toys and the sex trade can be criminalized, sexual desires are not easily quashed, and people will find ways to satisfy them. Without any regulation, black markets can profit freely, selling sex toys with no concern over fair pricing or quality control. The global sex toy industry sold nearly US $34 billion dollars last year, and with continued lockdown and the closures of entertainment venues, these sales are set to only increase, even in the face of Thailand’s conservative laws.

SOURCE: Vice

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