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Koh Samui

Koh Samui looks to promotions to bolster dwindling foreign tourist numbers

Tanutam Thawan

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Koh Samui looks to promotions to bolster dwindling foreign tourist numbers | The Thaiger

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui says that foreigner numbers visiting the Gulf island have crashed in the first half of 2019. He says they’re trying to swing their focus to Thai travellers and other promotions to make up the difference.

Foreign visitors to Koh Samui in the past have been mostly from Germany, China, Eastern Europe, Australia and Britain.

According to the Bangkok Post, the average occupancy rate of 27,000 rooms at Koh Samui hotels dropped to 45% during the first six months this yea, down from 65% int he first half of 2018.

According to the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, the number of Chinese visitors plunged 25-30% in the first half of 2019. Some of the chartered flights out of China to Samui have been cut by half.

Chinese suffering the fall-out of the US-China trade war and the strong Thai baht were cited as some of the reasons for the drop in their tourist trade.

The Tourism Association of Koh Samui is recommending more scheduled flights allowed to land and to allow more airlines to fly to the island. The TAT is also planning to market Koh Samui as a “preferred destination”, especially to nearby Malaysia, Singapore and China.

A range of initiatives are being investigated including a ‘Samui Festival’ proposed for September 14-19, discounts for tourists on hotels and ferries, and Bangkok Airways (who owns the airport on Koh Samui) says they will discount airfares up to December this year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Chiang Mai

“Don’t extend opening hours to 4am” – Tourist zones

Tanutam Thawan

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“Don’t extend opening hours to 4am” – Tourist zones | The Thaiger

“Think again about extending pub opening hours to 4am in tourist areas”.

That’s the advice from Dr Mohamed Fahmy Tale, an advocate for alcohol control, directed to Thailand’s tourism minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

Manager Online says that he wants the government to focus more on safety rather than encouraging more drinking.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, had proposed an extension of official opening hours in tourism locations like Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui. He claimed that the tourism economy would be stimulated by as much as 25%, without providing any evidence to back his remarks.

(In reality many of the more popular venues are already open well past the 2am curfew with the ‘co-operation’ of local police and officials.)

But Dr Mohamed Fahmy Tale, who proposes measures to tackle Thailand’s alcohol problems, disagrees.

In an opinion piece in Manager Dr Mohamed says that he was “shaking his head” when he read the proposals. He claims the proposal would “set Thailand tourism back and put it in the klong” (canal).

He said that tourists don’t decide where to visit based on alcohol availability. He said that Thailand already has the moniker of the “Tourist Sex Capital“ and there are far better ways to move forward and counter this perception rather than extending opening hours.

He said that Thailand has more than enough culture and environmental wonders like sea and mountains to take tourism in a new and more favourable direction and that the government should promote that.

He said that his surveys showed that safety is a tourist’s number one priority and the government should focus on improving that too.

He urged a rethink saying that the minister’s claims about closing times in Italy were broad brush remarks. Italy has a great deal of difference from one city to the next, he said and could not be compared to Thailand.

SOURCE: Manager Online

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Crime

“How did my son die in Thailand?” A British father seeks answers.

Tanutam Thawan

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“How did my son die in Thailand?” A British father seeks answers. | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Facebook/David Cornock

The father of a 37 year old British man who died in mysterious circumstances in Koh Samui in May this year, has called in a former detective to sort out what happened. The British Foreign Office has already raised the case with both the Royal Thai Police and Interpol.

The body of 37 year old David Cornock, a Scottish engineer, was discovered by his American wife in their island bungalow on May 2.

David’s 59 year old father, Mr. Cornock, is urging Thai police to investigate the unexplained death of of his son at his own home on Koh Samui. He claims that eight days transpired before a post mortem was held. At that stage it was determined that the cause of death could not be established “due to decomposition of the body”.

David’s father told the BBC, “As a family we have been left in the dark and David’s death remains undetermined. We will never see our beloved son again and we never got the opportunity to say goodbye.”

He was informed about the incident whilst attending a meeting in Aberdeen when his wife, Margaret called him.

When David’s body was repatriated on May 17, Mr Cornock was contacted by an official who told him that he’d reviewed the death certificate and that the post mortem was not conducted until 8 days following David’s death.

Since then the family have been seeking answers and the circumstances around their son’s death. Amongst many other questions, they are trying to establish what investigations local officers conducted at the scene and what evidence they collected. At this stage there has been no response from the Royal Thai Police, excepting a copy of a document, in Thai, confirming that the hospital was unable to learn anything from the post mortem due to the eight days passing after David’s death.

David’s stepmother Margaret and David’s father talking to the BBC about David’s death

The father told the BBC, “He was a global traveller, entrepreneur, generous to a fault, trusting, loved a laugh and had a great sense of humour.”

He said David met his American wife Grecelle Rivera while on business in the US and they married in Florida in July 2017. David had been married before and supported his former wife and child who lived in Brazil.

A former detective David Swindle, also co-founder of Justice Abroad, is reviewing any material they can get their hands to support investigations conducted by Koh Samui officials.

David says there must have been investigations conducted at the time which can provide more information. He says there has been a “shocking lack of transparency” over the case.

“Despite numerous requests for further information about the Thai Police investigation no case related documentation has been made available to David’s family.”

A British Foreign Office spokesman said that staff were providing “support to the family of a British man following his death in Thailand and liaise with the Thai authorities”.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Crime

Defence team will seek royal pardon for Burmese pair facing death penalty over Koh Tao murders

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Defence team will seek royal pardon for Burmese pair facing death penalty over Koh Tao murders | The Thaiger

Yesterday the Thai Supreme Court decided to uphold the death sentences handed down previously to the two young Burmese men for the September 2014 murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao. The defence team says they will now seek a royal pardon for the pair in the next 60 days.

The defendants, now 26 year old, were escorted from Bang Kwang Central Prison to Nonthaburi Court to hear the verdict.

The verdict, which took nearly two hours to deliver, said this case has clear, credible and detailed evidence against the pair, including DNA matches, so “it is not convincing that the police will fabricate evidence to frame the pair as claimed”.

Noting that the forensic evidence was carefully collected to prevent contamination and had been tested by a credible agency, and also that DNA tests were done on many Thais and foreigners in the vicinity, the court ruled that the defendants were not being targeted and found them guilty as charged.

The pair were escorted back to the Bang Kwang prison after hearing the verdict.

The Rakhine migrant workers were arrested nearly three weeks after British tourists 23 year old Hannah Witheridge and 24 year old David Miller were found bludgeoned to death on September 15, 2014. Autopsy results also showed that Witheridge had also been raped.

Although the suspects, facing charges of assault, murder, rape and theft as well as illegal entry into Thailand, reportedly confessed initially, they later retracted their confessions saying they had been tortured into doing so.

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death by the Koh Samui Provincial Court in December 2015, resulting in protests outside the Royal Thai Embassy in Myanmar. Later, in March 2017, the Court of Appeals Region 8 also upheld the pair’s convictions. Their lawyer then appealed to the Supreme Court, alleging that the police had failed to carry out proper procedures in search for DNA evidence and had forced the pair to confess to the murders.

SOURCE: The Nation

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