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Thailand’s beaches now more expensive than European resorts – report

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Thailand’s beaches now more expensive than European resorts – report | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Ministry of Villas

The cost of a holiday in popular Thai beach resorts is now on par with, or even higher than those in Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Egypt – all closer to home for Europeans with lower flight costs and less travel time.

Diethelm Travel Group report that the cost of a five-star resort in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Samed, for example, has now reached around US$500 per night for a standard room, including American breakfast. This report says that is similar to the cost of a five-star beach resort in Greece, Italy and Spain, and dearer than a comparable property in Turkey or Egypt – around US$350 a night.

Skift.com reports that the prices for travel to Thailand are even now comparable to a mountain resort in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – approx. US$450 a room in July/August, the high season for Europeans.

Diethelm, one of Thailand’s oldest and largest inbound travel specialists, does regular price benchmarking and shares the latest figures with travel blog Skift.

Their report says a Thai holiday has increased by about 30% in US dollars, and 40% in Euros over the last five years due to realignment of the currencies and the baht’s current popularity with international investors.

Diethelm’s Group CEO Stephan Roemer says the Thai hotel prices have now reached a point that is “definitely too much.”

“Hotels at the well-known resort areas in Thailand are more expensive than comparable resorts in Europe. I fear a negative impact in the medium to longer term (6 to 18 months) particularly for the leisure market to Thailand.”

Danai Wansom, president and CEO of Well Hotels & ResortsThailand, says, despite attempts to resolve the strengthening baht, the Thai currency just keeps strengthening.

“This is a tough challenge for our tourism industry. I admit that it has a negative impact on our business. I believe, although I do not want to, that the baht could reach below 30 baht to the US dollar.”

Analysts say a guest mix heavily slanted towards Asia has become an issue for some upmarket European guests for whom Thailand also appears to be losing a bit of amazingness. This is due to its political situation and overdevelopment, aside from the structural change in market mix.

Ruth Landolt, general manager of Asia365, a tour operating company based in Zurich, crafting tailor made tours to Asia for German-speaking markets, says some of her long-term clients are not going back to Thailand.

“Some of the hotels have shifted their guest mix and sell a bigger percentage to the Chinese market. So the atmosphere in the hotel can change to the point where clients tell us they will not go back. This is a very important issue.”

Landolt saw a “two-digit drop” in business to Thailand this past summer although the upcoming winter business is “looking good, so we hope for the best.”

“Thailand still has many places with a competitive edge, and those hotels that have maintained their rates are suffering much less, while those that have not listened and increased their rates considerably are now hitting the market with sometimes crazy reductions.”

Business to Phuket and Koh Samui is down year-on-year, which European travel analysts put down to over-development and “overfamiliarity” rather than Brexit or the high baht.

David Kevan, a director at Chic Locations UK, says these islands have lost their glamor.

“It’s very much been there, done that. However clients are using the improved air links into both as gateways to travel onto Khao Lak, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, so our business to Thailand this year on the whole is about 5%, with Khao Lak, Koh Samed and Koh Kood all performing well.”

Unless these islands too go the way of their elder sister resort destinations and lose their quality and uniqueness eventually.

But another high-end UK tour operator, Premier Holidays, sayst Brexit uncertainty, which is being reflected in a weaker British pound, coupled with a very strong baht, is an issue.

And according to its product manager, John Parker, Thai hotels and resorts are making tactical offers that holiday prices to Thailand generally remain in line or better than other Far East destinations.

Thailand meanwhile has yet again extended its visa-on-arrival fee waiver for citizens of 20 nations for another six months. The fee of 2,000 baht for a single-entry leisure travel in Thailand of not more than 15 days has been waived effective the start of this month.

It’s a sign that the country is struggling to achieve its target of 39.8 million visitors this year, already a downward revision from the 40 million visitors target previously. And judging from the list of nations for which the visa fee is waived, Thailand is relying on China, India and a slew of emerging markets to make up for the shortfall from traditional markets such as Europe.

SOURCE: skift.com

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Ask The Thais | Road deaths, dating foreigners, and is ‘farang’ racist?

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Ask The Thais | Road deaths, dating foreigners, and is ‘farang’ racist? | The Thaiger

Ask The Thais” is a new segment on The Thaiger where we ask some of our Thai staff to explain some of the unusual and sometimes inexplicable little nuances of Thai culture. You have a question?

Send it in and we’ll get our MUCH BETTER LOOKING Thai staff to explain, from a Thai youth perspective, some of their culture and what they really think. Send us your questions below.

YouTube link to the Australian Transport Accident Commission video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2mf8DtWWd8

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111 people arrested at Koh Pha Ngan party for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions

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111 people arrested at Koh Pha Ngan party for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PR Surat

Police raided a party in Koh Pha Ngan and arrested 111 on charges of violating Covid-19 disease control measures under the Emergency Decree. Immigration police and tourist police raided the event at Three Sixty Bar, a venue on a hilltop near Mae Haad Beach on the island known for its 360 degree view.

Out of the 111 people arrested, 89 are foreigners and 20 are Thais. Police say 2 other people admitted to organising the party and were charged with colluding in operating an entertainment venue without permission. All 111 people were taken to the police station for legal action.

According to chief of Surat Thani immigration, police heard about party tickets being sold online. The bar wasn’t exactly discrete about hosting an event. Various posts were made on Facebook advertising the “360 Blast & Addict Party” with DJs on 2 dance floors, a music line up until 2am and a “Crazy Market” with clothes, jewelry and food.

Surat Thani Governor also says strict legal action will be taken against the partygoers and breaches of Covid-19 restrictions will not be tolerated.

111 people arrested at Koh Pha Ngan party for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | PR Surat

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Thailand News Today | Restrictions on Bangkok and Pattaya to be lifted? | January 27

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Thailand News Today | Restrictions on Bangkok and Pattaya to be lifted? | January 27 | The Thaiger

A trailer truck has driven into an accident scene, crashing into 9 vehicles and critically injuring a police officer who was directing traffic in Surat Thani’s main city district. Luckily rescue workers and another police officer were able to jump out of the way before the truck ploughed through the accident scene and into a roadside tyre shop.

2 people are still being treated for minor injuries. Police officers were directing traffic around the accident scene, but the trailer truck with a load gypsum drove through, crashing into 7 motorcycles and 2 pickup trucks. A police officer directing traffic was rushed to the hospital with serious head injuries. A lottery vendor was also injured and sent to the hospital.

The 26 year old driver says he had a problem with the brakes.

After several consecutive days without a local Covid-19 case, Chon Buri, which includes Pattaya, might soon be removed from the government’s list of “red zones” for high risk of Covid-19. Once lockdown restrictions are eased, the coastal province is expected to have an influx of domestic tourists.

The province has been under strict disease control measures and is classified as one of the 5 coastal province with the highest risk under maximum control to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Local businesses have been lobbying the government to loosen restrictions and allow non-essential businesses to reopen. Massage and spa workers gathered yesterday, calling on the governor to allow their businesses to reopen. The President of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapte also called for restrictions to be lifted, saying most hotels have had to shut down due to the pandemic, and other businesses face serious liquidity problems.

Chon Buri has gone 5 consecutive days without a new Covid-19 transmission.

Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat, may also be removed from the restricted list. The CCSA will meet tomorrow and will look into changing the classifications from red to orange.

18 provinces in Thailand’s north and northeast are being hit by a wave of smoke and air pollution as the burning season kicks in for the country’s agricultural sector.

The next 2 months are the peak of the burning off season for agricultural waste as farmers prepare their land for the next crops and use the fires to aid the harvest of some of their crops, like sugarcane.

The levels of PM 25 micron particulate, a measure of the smoke and haze, has been at “unhealthy” levels in Chiang Rai, Phrae, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Tak, Phetchabun, Phayao, Nan, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Khon Kaen, Roi Et, Chaiyaphum, Ubon Ratchathani, Saraburi, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Nakhon Ratchasima.

The Pollution Control Department are now openly admitting that the major cause of the seasonal smoke around much of Thailand is from open burning by farmers who are preparing their land.

The levels of haze and smog in the affected provinces is categorised as “unhealthy” by the IQair.com website

The firms.modaps website, the NASA satellite fire tracking service, shows the number of fires currently alight around Thailand and the concentrations in the north and north east of the country.

Late night diners rejoice. Your option to eat all that great Thai food around the country looks to be back on the table as the government is considering lifting some of the current restrictions on dining and business operating hours.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has announced that they’re likely to lift restrictions on dining, currently set at 9pm, by the end of this week.

The Thai Restaurant Association have been lobbying hard for an extension of the opening times for in-restaurant dining times to at least 11pm.

The CCSA will gather on Friday to assess the current Covid-19 situation and decide if the extension is viable at this time. But the Public Health Minister maintained that alcohol will still be prohibited and other precautions like hand-sanitisers at entry points and social distancing will still need to be strictly applied.

Today has seen another day of high numbers of new Covid-19 infections with another 819 cases reported along with 1 new death.

There are now 4,335 active Covid-19 cases but many of the patients remain asymptomatic and are taken to state quarantine for a 14 day stay.

More than 700 of the new 819 cases were detected in tracking and tracing in Samut Sakhon. Most of the cases involve migrants, many who work in the local seafood processing factories.

The CCSA says the high numbers detected in the province were expected and will probably continue as the results come in from the pro-active testing in the province. The CCSA says there is no need for anyone to be alarmed about the large numbers emerging from testing in the area.

A 56 year old Thai man in Samut Sakhon also died in the past 24 hours as a result of his Covid-19 infection.

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