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Chinese tourists receive warm welcome at Phuket International Airport

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Chinese tourists receive warm welcome at Phuket International Airport | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Phuket officials held an impressive welcoming ceremony this weekend for the first wave of Chinese tourists to visit the island under a free, 90-day visa campaign.

The campaign, which will be in effect from August 9 to November 8, was launched in the hopes of recovering from a nationwide 30 per cent decrease in inbound travellers from China and Taipei.

According to 2013 statistics reported by the Airport Immigration Bureau, Thailand had received approximately 900,000 Chinese travellers per month. However, in October of 2013, they noted a 30 per cent decrease.

A recent article in The Nation noted that total international arrivals were down 10 per cent so far this year compared to the same period last year (story here).

Dancers from Simon Caberet and local officials greeted the group of 300 tourists arriving on flights from Pudong and Beijing* with offerings of gift bags with Batik shirts and other souvenirs, welcome signs in Chinese and Chinese-speaking guides on standby to assist them.

“Following the NCPO’s encouragement of a national business campaign waiving visa fees for Chinese tourists, many organizations are happy to participate and we also hope that the number of tourists will increase – especially Chinese – under the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] campaign,” said Prathuang Sornkham, director of Phuket International Airport.

Also present at the ceremonies were Anoma Wongyai, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Phuket office, Phuket Airport officials and Immigration Bureau officers.

“The past conflict in Bangkok is the main factor which affected the tourism industry. I believe this campaign will help increase the number of tourists in Thailand, especially Phuket,” Ms Anoma said.

When asked about the possibility of people taking unfair advantage of the temporary, visa-fee exemption, Mr Prathuang said he was not worried.

“The Immigration Bureau has a policy to control unexpected immigrants who may try to take advantage of this campaign. I don’t believe this will be an issue,” he explained.

*The story originally stated that the passengers had arrived from Hainan.

— Kritsada Muanhawong

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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